University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology

Region: Near East


Clever People, These Armenians

Museum Exterior

By: Carleton S. Coon

Deep in the oven-like summer of 1951 I was obliged, for reasons that have nothing to do with this story, to forsake the cool heights of Hamadan and make a trip by bus to Tehran. I came back as soon as I was able. Now in those days, and possibly still, it was the rule […]


Digging in Iran

Photo of men digging
Hasanlu, 1958

By: Robert H. Dyson, Jr.

Expeditions, especially archaeological ones, often produce unexpected results. The last Hasanlu Expedition was no exception. It started slowly with what seemed an interminable delay in the arrival of equipment, and the dull but necessary job of clearing away the accumulated debris of winter. Having previously opened a number of graves belonging to people who had […]


A Sumerian Document with Microscopic Cunieform

By: Samuel Noah Kramer

The Department of Oriental Antiquities in the Louvre in Paris is the fortunate possessor of the remains of a Sumerian document inscribed with more than thirty-five hundred years ago with what are by all odds the most minute cuneiform characters yet known. In the course of the past hundred years or so tens of thousands […]


The Hasanlu Bowl

hassanlu bowl

By: Edith Porada

One glance at the gold bowl from Hasanlu with its varied scenes of gods, heroes, monsters, and men suffices to show that it ranks with the most significant works of ancient Near Eastern art now known. Its interest lies both in its rich iconography and in its lively, linear style, which makes full use of […]


An Iranian Drinking Vessel

By: Robert H. Dyson, Jr.

The mountains of western Iran are today the home of sheep-herding tribesmen as they have been since animals were first domesticated. It is not surprising, therefore, that both domestic sheep and their local wild relatives have provided motifs for Iranian art from early prehistoric times. In the pre-metal ages they were painted on pottery; in […]


Arabic Art

By: George Byron Gordon

This is not a treatise on Arabic Art but a notice directing attention to some examples in the University Museum that I obtained at Cairo and Damascus in 1919. The terms Mohammedan Art, Arabic Art and Saracenic Art are used by different writers to describe the work of artists who flourished in the Middle East […]


Five Royal Seal Cylinders

The Oldest Dated Royal Seal. The Seal of Basha-enzu, B.C. 2900 I

By: Leon Legrain

Art and history are interested in this small monument that has lain unconspicuous in the Collections of the Museum for over 30 years. It is a limestone cylinder seal, 29 x 16mm., that was bought by Dr. Haynes at Baghdad on Dec. 23, 1890. It has three figures and three lines of inscription engraved, and […]