University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology

Region: Egypt


Looking Back

By: Eric W. Schnittke

In 1929, the Penn Museum appointed Alan Rowe field director for excavations at Meydum, Egypt. Rowe, an Englishman, had previously worked for the Museum at Beth Shean, Israel. The work at Meydum was short lived. Due to the Great Depression, the excavations were terminated in 1931. Located 76 km (50 miles) south of Cairo, the […]


In the Galleries – Winter 2013

Native American Voices: The People –Here and Now Leave preconceptions behind and discover a living tapestry of Nations with distinct histories and unexpected identities. In Native American Voices: The People–Here and Now, a new long-term interactive exhibition, visitors will encounter contemporary themes in Native American culture. Highlighting more than 300 traditional and modern objects from […]


In the Galleries – Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster

Propaganda has long been used to mobilize people in times of war. Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster presents 33 posters, most targeting African and African-American civilians. These carefully designed works of art were aimed at mobilizing people of color in war efforts, even as they faced oppression and injustice in […]


Beth Shean Columns in Lower Egypt

Nicholas Harris points to the graffitied column in the Penn Museum Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery.

By: Nicholas Harris

The marble columns, majestic in their own right, contain a further curiosity: they are criss-crossed with Arabic and Hebrew graffiti. Column I carries two examples of Hebrew graffiti. One reads: “In the name of the Lord, we will d[o and will prosper].” Below this paraphrase of Gen. 39:23, commonly appearing at the beginning of Hebrew […]


The Granite Sphinx of Ramesses II

By: Jennifer H. Wegner

Excavated by W. M. Flinders Petrie in 1913 near the Ptah Temple at Memphis, the Penn Museum’s twelve-ton sphinx is the largest sphinx in the Western Hemisphere. The sphinx, a lion with a human head, represents the power of the Egyptian king. Carved of a single block of red granite, quarried at Aswan, the five-fold […]


Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr.

Patron Saint of the Museum

By: Alessandro Pezzati

His frail body sheltered the spirit of a courteous gentleman of high culture and lovable and gentle character. There are many who feel that in his death a man of rare quality and parts has passed away — an American gentleman of the truest and highest type. From the Bulletin of the American Institute of […]


Penn Museum’s Youngest Egyptologist Alexander Wegner

Field Experience

By: Jennifer Houser Wegner

Fans of Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody novels, which are set in late-19th century Egypt, might be familiar with a husband and wife team of archaeologists who excavate and solve murders with the help of their adventurous and precocious son, Ramses. The Penn Museum’s Egyptian Section also has a husband and wife team of Egyptologists, Jen and […]


Prehistoric Abydos

Africa's Gateway to the World

By: Harold L. Dibble and Shannon P. McPherron and Deborah I. Olszewski and Jennifer R. Smith and Utsav Schurmans and Laurent Chiotti

Most Expedition readers will be familiar with the Museum’s longstanding Egyptian research project at Abydos, which focuses on Abydos’s ancient yet historically known past, and was most recently presented in a special issue of Expedition in 2006 (vol. 48-2). In contrast, the following research focuses on Abydos’s far more distant and prehistoric past. The origin […]


The Rebirth of the Sun

Mortuary Art and Architecture in the Royal Tombs of New Kingdom Egypt

By: Joshua Roberson

Images and texts found in ancient Egyptian burials present a highly complex vision of the afterlife. In particular, the specialized decoration employed in royal tombs provides unparalleled insight into the Egyptian understanding of death as an interface between the human and divine worlds. The Valley of the Kings—located on the west bank of the Nile […]


The Dig House at Abydos

Field Experience

By: Nicholas S. Picardo

During the latter part of ancient Egypt’s Middle Kingdom in the 18th century BCE, a royal edict forbade the placement of structures within a sacred zone at the Upper (Southern) Egyptian site of Abydos. As translated by Anthony Leahy: My Majesty (life, prosperity, health) decrees the protection of the holy land south of Abydos for […]