University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology

Region: Egypt


Ancient Reuse

The Discovery of a Royal Sarcophagus Chamber

By: Josef Wegner and Kevin M. Cahail

During June 2013, excavations were underway near the base of the Mountain-of-Anubis. The search was on for private cemeteries belonging to the Middle Kingdom community of Wah-sut. Excavations since 1994 have revealed a large and complex settlement site. But where are the tombs of the thousands of people who must have lived and died at […]


The Palatial Residence of Wah-Sut

Modeling the Mayor’s House at South Abydos

By: Josef Wegner

It was the summer of 1994. Our first season of excavation was underway on the temple of Senwosret III. Walking across the landscape of South Abydos, I had many questions. What else besides a pharaoh’s tomb and mortuary temple once existed at South Abydos? Not far to the south of the temple, my attention was […]


Taking It With You

The South Abydos Tomb Census

By: Kevin M. Cahail

As part of the ongoing excavations in the Middle Kingdom town of Wah-sut, a pressing question has arisen: where were its inhabitants buried? Although this might appear easy to answer, reality has proven otherwise. During 2012–2013, we began a program of survey and excavation—the South Abydos Tomb Census—to help answer this crucial question. Results so […]


Their Memory Lives On

Domestic Funerary Commemoration at Wah-sut

By: Kevin M. Cahil

To the ancient Egyptian mind, the worlds of the living and the dead were inextricably intertwined. The speech of one man to his wife recorded on a stela encapsulates both this belief, and the mechanism through which it was enacted: How are you? Is the West taking care of you [according to] your desire? Now […]


Discovering Pharaohs Sobekhotep & Senebkay

An Update from the 2013–2014 Field Season

By: Josef Wegner

Archaeology can change quickly in the face of new data produced through excavation. In this issue of Expedition we have presented some of the recent research of the Penn Museum’s excavations at South Abydos. Yet, already we have new results to add. The winter season (December 2013–January 2014) was extremely productive and has provided some […]


The Remains of Senebkay

First Glimpse of a New Pharaoh

By: Paul Verhelst and Matthew Olson

On January 6, 2014, sunlight fell upon the visage of a pharaoh whom history had forgotten for over three and a half millennia. This man was the pharaoh Woseribre-Senebkay. Like virtually every ancient Egyptian royal tomb, Senebkay’s resting place was extensively robbed in antiquity. Looters opened his wooden coin, removed his cartonnage mummy mask, and […]


Hidden Treasures

Abydos in the Basement

By: Jennifer Houser Wegner

At the turn of the last century, long before the Penn Museum began its work at Abydos under David O’Connor and William Kelly Simpson in the late 1960s, the site of Abydos in southern Egypt was the focus of intense archaeological exploration. At that time, the Penn Museum was keen to build its Egyptian collection, […]


Saving History

The Conservation of Painted Coffin Fragments from Abydos

By: Molly Gleeson

Archaeologists from the Penn Museum are currently searching for tombs related to the Middle Kingdom community at South Abydos. In the Museum’s collection are artifacts of this same time period but from North Abydos. One of these is a fragmentary coin—beautifully decorated—that is a good example of an elite funerary object dating to the same […]


The Last Partage

Dividing Finds from the 1960s Excavations

By: David O'Connor

In 1967 a new team of excavators arrived at Abydos, a site of great extent located on the western side of the Nile Valley in southern Egypt. The co-directors of the team were myself, on behalf of the Penn Museum, and William Kelly Simpson of Yale University. We had been preceded by many other teams […]


From the Archives

The Discovery of the Palace of Merenptah at Memphis

By: Alessandro Pezzati

Memphis, Egypt was one of the largest cities of antiquity. According to tradition, it was founded by the mythical king Menes, the first pharaoh and unifier of Upper and Lower Egypt, ca. 3000 BCE. It was the capital throughout the Old Kingdom, and was only rivaled by Thebes and Alexandria many centuries later. It was […]