University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology

Region: Near East

Beth Shan

By: Frances W. James

“If paradise is situated in the land of Israel, its entrance is Beth Shan.” – Rabbi Simeon Ben Lachish, c. A.D. 350. The Biblical Book of Samuel tells us that the bodies of Saul and his sons were exposed by the Philistines on the walls of Beth Shan–one of the greatest and most powerful cities […]

The Death of a City

People laying brickwork.

By: Robert H. Dyson, Jr.

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountian, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; […]

The Wine Industry at Gibeon

Photo of men standing by cellar holes.
1959 Discoveries

By: James B. Pritchard

In a Near Eastern country such as Jordan an archaeologist learns quickly that it is usually best to discount, if not disregard completely, local rumors about ancient wonders which lie underground. Too often these alleged treasures have been found to exist only in hear-say embroidered by folk imagination. Yet, what seemed to be a highly […]

Expedition News – Fall 1959

Museum Exterior

The 1959 season’s work of all three of the University Museum Expeditions to the Near East was completed by early September. In this issue of¬†Expedition¬†there is a report by Dr. Pritchard of the results at el-Jib where he is Field Director; reports by Dr. Young on Gordion and by Mr. Dyson on Hasanlu will appear […]

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 […]