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Region: Europe / Mediterranean


A Comet Shall Shine Forth

A Bronze Belt From an Etruscan Tomb

By: Jean Macintosh Turfa

A depiction of a comet may have been discovered on an artifact in the Museum’s Etruscan collection. This rare narrative artwork tells the story of people trying to make sense of astronomical events. Far from unusual, the ancients left behind many artifacts and images that tell us they were observing the skies as much as […]


Investigating Metallurgical Knowledge in the Iron Age Eastern Mediterranean

In the Labs

By: Olivia Hayden

The transformation of raw metal into finished objects consists of an intense cycle of heating, cooling, and hammering, and, when all is said and done, the finished objects contain few visible traces of this grueling ordeal. Fortunately, archaeologists can use scientific techniques to reveal these otherwise imperceptible steps of production and to learn about the […]


Survivors of San Lorenzo

Heritage and Change in a Florentine Market

By: Anne Schiller

As globalization propels people and commerce across international borders, landmark destinations like the San Lorenzo Market in Florence, Italy, are adapting. Changes to some important cultural traditions, however, can be controversial. Some enterprising vendors here are taking cooperative ownership of the transition from neighborhood market to globalized marketplace. It was a frigid afternoon in Florence’s […]


The Ottoman Tanbûr

Introducing the Long-Necked Lute of Ottoman Classical Music

By: Hans De Zeeuw

The Ottoman Empire emerged in the early 14th century in Anatolia as a result of the disintegration of the Seljuk sultanate and following instability caused by the Mongol conquest and rule. The era that started with the reign of Sultan Mehmed II (r. 1444–1446 and 1451–1481) and ended with the reign of Sultan Süleyman I […]


Ancient Lineages

photo of village
Reconstructing the Genetic History of Svaneti, Northwest Georgia

By: Aram Yardumian and Theodore G. Schurr and Ramaz Shengelia and Davit Chitanava and Shorena Laliashvili and Lia Bitadze and Irma Laliashvili

At the dawn of the common era, the Greek historian and geographer Strabo composed brief descriptions of the numerous tribes living and trading at Eastern Black Sea ports for his encyclopedic work Geographica. Among them, he wrote, “Are the Soanes, who are…superior…in power…and hold possession of the heights of the caucasus above Dioscurias. The mountainous […]


From the CAAM Labs to the Field, and Back Again

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In the Labs

For this issue of “In the Labs,” two undergraduate students enrolled in CAAM’s Minor in Archaeological Science write on the research they conducted in the field last summer. Recording of a Burial Mound, Gordion (Turkey) By Braden Cordivari C18 My senior research project in the Department of Classical Studies concerns summer fieldwork at the site […]


Aegean Dyes

photo of painting
Unearthing the Colors of Ancient Minoan Textiles

By: Marie Nicole Pareja and Philip P. Betancourt and Vili Apostolakou and Thomas M. Brogan and Andrew J. Koh

Bronze Age Clothing in Minoan Crete was multicolored and made from intricately woven textiles. Until now, our only evidence related to the colors in the textiles came from the study of costume in wall paintings. Fortunately, recent research has revealed that several different dyes were produced in Minoan Crete. Clothing is depicted in frescoes and […]


Mummies Beyond the Grave

An Introduction to Mummy Studies around the World

By: Janet Monge

Over 20 years ago, I got hooked on mummies. It began when we first x-rayed the many South and North American mummies that are part of the Physical Anthropology Section collections at the Penn Museum. This led to a drive to glean even more information from the mummies. For several years, on Sunday mornings at […]


Ötzi the Iceman

Otzi
Examining New Evidence from the Famous Copper Age Mummy

By: M. Vidale and L. Bondioli and D.W. Frayer and M. Gallinaro and A. Vanzetti

The Iceman mummy, nicknamed Ötzi, was discovered in 1991 amidst sheets of melting ice on the Tisenjoch pass of the Similaun glacier in the Tyrolean Alps. He was found on the border between Italy and Austria, at an altitude of 3,200 m above sea level. He is a well-preserved male human corpse, dark in color, […]


Preserved in Peat

Photo of part of the body found
Decoding Bog Bodies from Lower Saxony, Germany

By: Sabine Eisenbeiss

Bog bodies—human corpses naturally mummified in the cool, acidic, and low-oxygen environments of peat bogs—have been found in Lower Saxony, Germany, and in other peaty areas of Northern Europe, including the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. These bog bodies date from ca. 8000 BCE to the recent past and are noted for […]