Expedition News – Spring 1967

Originally Published in 1967

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The Sillman Collection

Over one-half of American children have maloccluded (“crowded”) teeth, to a greater or lesser degree. About ten percent of these children end up in an orthodontist’s office for correction. We are all familiar with such terms as “buck teeth,” “weak chin,” “small lower jaw.” Over the years, causative factors have been sought in oral habits (thumb sucking, for example) and in problems of care of the teeth. Now, researchers are turning to a study of the growth of face, jaws, and teeth, figuring that perhaps there may occur, during growth, some imbalance between tooth and bone, leading to crowding of teeth, to failure of teeth to erupt in place, and so on.

There are many ways of studying these growth problems: to actually measure the face and jaws of the child as he sits in the dental chair; to take X-ray films of face and jaws and then study the developing teeth and jaws; to take plaster casts (“dental molds”) of the upper and lower tooth-arches and study them.

The Museum will shortly house a rare and valuable collection of children’s dental models, gathered by John Sillman, D.D.S., of New York City. These are extremely important because they represent the growth progress of the jaws in about forty individuals, over a twenty-five year period of time. What this means is: Dr. Sillman started his data gathering at birth in about sixty children. He saw each a year later, then another year later, and so on, for twenty-five years. Along the way, so to speak, twenty were “lost” (moved away, lost interest, and so forth), so that the study ended with forty upper-and-lower casts of tooth eruption and growth, through the baby teeth, the permanent teeth, and on into early adult life. This means one thousand casts to study and to interpret. It also means forty individual records of progressive growth-change, and because the records are individual these result in two things: 1) a sort of pattern of how dental arches grow generally; 2) an insight into variability; that is, no two are absolutely like, for each shows some unique differences traceable, perhaps, to mother and father, or, to state it properly, to maternal and paternal familial inheritance.

In essence, this is why the Sillman Collection is so very important. It is the basis of study by growth researchers, by pedontists (children’s dentists), and by orthodontists. In short, it is value to the basic scientist and to the dental clinician. Housed here in the Museum it may be studied again and again as generations of students are trained.  It will aid in diagnosis, in treatment-planning, and in understanding the fundamental mechanics of tooth development and bone growth.

Dr. Sillman has presented his collection to the University. It has been turned over, as joint custodians, to Dr. Walter Cohen, Professor and Chairman of Periodontology, School of Dental Medicine, and Dr. Wilton Krogman, Professor and Chairman of Physical Anthropology, Division of Graduate Medicine, and Curator of Physical Anthropology in the Museum. The dental casts will be housed and displayed in the Museum basement room #48.

It must be further pointed out that Dr. Sillman did all the work himself. This means standardization of method and uniformity of results, so that experimental error is reduced to a minimum. Science and dentistry are indebted to him for what surely must be called a “labor of love.” His skills, his energy, his time, his understanding, and his devotion have resulted in a unique opportunity to advance growth insight and dental knowledge and care.

The Kevorkian Lectures

The Hagop Kevorkian Visiting Lectureship in Ancient Iranian Art and Archaeology has been established through the generosity of the Trustees of The Kevorkian Foundation to enable The University Museum to bring twice a year to Philadelphia outstanding foreign scholars in Iranian Art and Archaeology. Each scholar will give a public lecture and participate for ten days in discussions with curators and students, these discussions being devoted to the exploration of his area of special competence in Iranian Art and Archaeology.

Peder Mortenson
Peder Mortenson

Peder Mortensen, Assistant Keeper in the Department of Oriental and Classical Antiquities at the National Museum, Copenhagen, was the first of these visiting scholars, when he lectured here on April 26, 1966, his subject Prehistoric Investigations in Western Iran. Mr. Mortensen was born in 1934 and was educated in European Prehistory at the Universities of Arhus and Copenhagen. He has held his present position at the National Museum since 1961. He was a member of the Danish Archaeological Expedition working at Bahrain in 1956-61, of the National Museum’s Iranian Expedition, 1963, and of the British excavations at Beidha in Jordan, 1965. His research has included the excavation of the important early neolithic site of Tepe Guran in Luristan, Iran, on which he reported in this lecture; also extended studies on the early neolithic Shemshara and related materials in Iraq in 1961, and other neolithic materials in Turkey and Greece in 1964 and in Jordan in 1965-66.

David Stronach

David Stronach, the second Kevorkian lecturer, has been Director of the British Institute of Persian Studies since its foundation in 1961. Born in 1931, he read archaeology and anthropology at the University of Cambridge 1951-55. As a Fellow of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara from 1955 to 1957, he gained his first experience of Near Eastern excavation under Professor Seton-Lloyd at Beycesultan in Turkey. Later, as a Fellow of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq, he took part in several successive seasons at Nimrud and was responsible for the School’s excavations at the Haji Mohammad site of Ras al Amiya 80 km. south of Baghdad. In 1958 he joined Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s excavations at Charsada in West Pakistan. The title of Mr. Stronach’s lecture, delivered on October 27, 1966, was Excavations at Pasargadae: an Achaemenian Treasure and Other Discoveries.

Pierre Amiet

On April 25, 1967, the third Kevorkian lecture was given by M. Pierre Amiet, Conservator of the Department of Oriental Antiquities in the Louvre. Pierre Amiet was born in Strasbourg in 1922 and came to his interest in archaeology through his father’s interests and that of the Assyriologist Dennefield. After World War II he studied at the Ecole du Louvre where he received his License es Lettres. During this period his association with R. de Mecquenem, L. Le Breton, and G. Contenau led to his continuing interest in the excavations and collections connected with Susa, Iran. In 1950, 1951, and 1954 he participated in the excavations at Tell el Far-ah (directed by R.P. de Vaux) while a member of the Ecole biblique at Jerusalem. After then writing his doctoral thesis in Baghdad, Glyptique Mesopotamienne archaique, his health necessitated his return to France. In 1958 he was named Conservator of the Musees de Chambrey; in 1961, assistant to Andre Parrot in the Department of Oriental Antiquities at the Louvre. In 1963 M. Amiet visited Iran to study the seal collection in the Archaeological Museum in Teheran and to visit Susa. The next year he published his book, Elam. His lecture, Les Objets d’Art inedits de Susa (Iran) au Musee du Kouvre, covered some of his current research on unpublished materials from Susa.


The “Vanished American”

It has been called to our attention that listing the book Wooden Bygones of Smoking and Snuff Taking by Edward H. Pinto in the Suggested Reading for Elisabeth Russell’s article on the “Vanished American” in the Summer 1966 Expedition does not fully express our indebtedness to Mr. Pinto’s book. We hereby acknowledge this indebtedness.

Cite This Article

"Expedition News – Spring 1967." Expedition Magazine 9, no. 3 (May, 1967): -. Accessed April 18, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/expedition-news-spring-1967/

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