Region: Near East

Artifact Perspective

Seeing Baghdad in Queen Puabi

Yaroub Al-Obaidi, Global Guide for the Middle East Galleries, drew inspiration from Queen Puabi’s burial headdress and jewelry to create his sculpture for Friends, Peace, Sanctuary, a collaboration between Swarthmore College Libraries and Swarthmore’s Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, connecting local Iraqi and Syrian people who resettled in Philadelphia with art to explore […]

Survey in Vayots Dzor, Armenia

From the Field

By: Andrew Williams

A team from the University of Pennsylvania, headed by Dr. Peter J. Cobb, recently the Kowalski Family Teaching Specialist at the Museum’s Center for the Analysis of Archeological Materials (CAAM), and Dr. Elvan Cobb of Cornell University, joined the 2018 season of the University of Central Florida’s Vayots Dzor Fortress Landscapes Project (VDFLP) and conducted […]

Saving Iraq’s Cultural Heritage

Training Iraqi Conservators at Gordion, Turkey

By: Jessica S. Johnson

Over the past four years, the Penn Museum’s Gordion Archaeological Project has hosted three Iraqi cultural heritage professionals during our summer field seasons in Turkey. The Gordion team provides archaeological conservation training, including the conservation of objects that have just been excavated as well as objects of all types currently in the Gordion Museum. This […]

Making the Middle East Galleries

drawing of animation
A Conversation with Julian Siggers, Dan Rahimi, and Steve Tinney

By: Jane Hickman

Julian Siggers, Ph.D., is Williams Director of the Penn Museum; Dan Rahimi is Executive Director of Galleries; Steve Tinney, Ph.D., is Coordinating Curator of the Middle East Galleries. They sat down with Expedition’s Editor Jane Hickman, Ph.D., and Associate Publisher, Alyssa Connell, Ph.D., for the following conversation about the making of the Middle East Galleries. […]

The Thrill of Discovery

Photo of egg
Penn Museum Excavations in Iraq and Iran

By: Richard L. Zettler and William B. Hafford

England and France have done a noble work of exploration in Assyria and Babylonia. It is time for America to do her part. Let us send out an American expedition. John P. Peters, American Oriental Society meeting, New Haven, 1883. Large Scale Excavations In Mesopotamia (Iraq), the lands between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, began […]

Adaptation and Change

Photo of sheep
The Development of Agriculture in the Ancient Middle East

By: Naomi F. Miller

The geography of the Middle East provided both challenges and opportunities for the people who lived there. Most of the Middle East is characterized by a Mediterranean-influenced climate, with cool or cold, wet winters and dry, hot summers. This climate pattern was established by the end of the Ice Age (10,000 BCE). Over the past […]

The Uses of Writing

image of manuscript
Inscribed Objects and Texts in the Middle East Galleries

By: Steve Tinney

Written texts and inscribed objects are an essential part of the stories told in the Middle East Galleries and feature throughout the rooms and cases, offering a broad and holistic picture of the origins, development, and uses of writing. As we thought about the role of writing in the development of civilization in the Middle […]

Mesopotamian City Life

photo of board game
Four Thousand Years Ago

By: William B. Hafford

Modern cities have neighborhoods, shops, factories, religious centers, and cemeteries. They have transportation networks along streets and alleyways, and drainage and sewage systems to carry away waste. Cities also have large and ornate public buildings, typically for city administration and religious observance. All of these elements were paralleled in ancient Mesopotamian cities such as Ur […]

A Spectacular Discovery

photo of news
Burials Simple and Splendid

By: William B. Hafford

Of more than 2,000 total graves, only 16 had the structure, wealth, and evidence of human sacfrice that convinced the director of the excavations, C. Leonard Woolley, that they were royal. These 16 overshadowed all the others, however, solidifying the name “Royal Cemetery” in the minds of scholars and the general public. Newspaper articles hailed […]

Highlands and Lowlands

Photo of object
The Interaction of Communities

By: Holly Pittman

As it is today, southern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), in the deep past, was a distinctive landscape. It provided, in abundance, the basic materials to sustain human life: water, food, clothing, and shelter. Water came not from rain, which is infrequent, but from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers which also carried rich soil washed down from […]