University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology

Region: Near East

A Day in the Life

The 2015 Field Season


Any description of life at Gordion must begin with the dig house, the center of archaeological activity now just as it was when it was built in the 1950s. The two-story house sits on a slight rise, looking out over a landscape of tumuli and irrigated fields of wheat, sugar beet, and onions. Like most […]

Rodney Young’s Other Career


By: Susan Heuck Allen

Mussolini’s invasion of Greece on October 28, 1940 prompted American archaeologists excavating there to act. Rodney Young, a recent Ph.D. who had been digging on a mountain slope overlooking Athens, drove an ambulance for the Greek Red Cross. He supplied first aid stations and picked up wounded soldiers from the Greek campaign, which had pushed […]

Students to Analyze 5,000 Year Old Skeleton

In the Labs

Last May, the Penn Museum identified an early burial from the Ubaid period at Ur, dated to ca. 4500 BCE. This was particularly groundbreaking because it shed light on early village life in the Ubaid period in Iraq—a time of transition to agriculture. Recently, a Penn team, led by Dr. Janet Monge, identified a second […]

From Homework to Fieldwork: Summer 2014 Student Projects

Around the World

The Penn Museum encourages and supports student research projects. In 2014, we funded 35 students (23 graduate students, 12 undergraduate students) in their fieldwork in 15 different countries. Five of these students share their summer projects. Molyvoti, Thrace Archaeological Project By Samuel Holzman, Graduate Student in Art And Archaeology of The Mediterranean World (AAMW) During […]

Searching for the Kingdom of Musasir

The Rowanduz Archaeological Program

By: Michael D. Danti

Near Eastern archaeologists generate compelling headlines and grab attention searching for lost kingdoms, temples, and palaces, but most everyone knows that modern archaeology encompasses far more than the pursuit of great discoveries. Archaeologists strive to reconstruct past cultures and study cultural evolution and human-environment interactions over time. Nevertheless, I confess that our new archaeological project […]

Sargon’s March: A New Translation

By: Grant Frame

In the eighth year of his reign (714 BC), the king of Assyria, Sargon II (721–705 BC), led a campaign into the Zagros mountains in order to aid his vassal Ullusunu, the ruler of Mannea. He then turned north, invading the powerful kingdom of Urartu, whose ruler Rusâ (or Ursâ) had been giving trouble to […]

An Elamite Inscribed Brick

New Aquisitions

By: Philip Jones

The Babylonian Section’s newest acquisition, a large baked brick with a stamped inscription, illuminates an era of social and religious upheaval throughout the ancient Near East. The inscription is a standard one that celebrates Untash-Napirisha, king of Elam, in what is now Southwest Iran, from ca. 1275–1240 BCE. As translated, it reads (following Dan Potts […]

Reports from the Field

Illuminating a Dark Age: New Work at Satu Qala, Iraq

By: Lauren Ristvet and Cinzia Pappi

In 1177 BCE, the armies of Ramses III, the pharaoh of Egypt, fought pitched battles on land and sea against a motley group of opponents that the Egyptians christened the Sea Peoples. Before reaching Egypt, the Sea Peoples had already menaced cities and kingdoms in Anatolia (modern Turkey) and up and down the Eastern Mediterranean […]

Modelling Gordion’s Citadel

By: Gareth Darbyshire and Christopher Ray

In 2016, a spectacular new exhibition of Anatolian archaeology will open at the Penn Museum. The show’s theme is the archaeology, history, and culture of Phrygia—an ancient region located in what is today central Turkey, and which, in the 9th and 8th centuries BCE, was a powerful Iron Age kingdom centered on the city of […]

Around the World

Around the World Every year, the Penn Museum’s curators and staff conduct research around the world. Read on for a small sampling of this work from the past year. New York & New Mexico Lucy Fowler Williams, Associate Curator and Sabloff Keeper in The American Section In support of the upcoming exhibition Native American Voices: […]