The Museum’s first field work was at Nippur in southern Iraq where the Temple Library of thousands of clay tablets written in cuneiform script was found. This view of the excavations near the east corner of the ziggurat, the great stepped tower of the god Enlil, was made by the photographer of the Fourth Nipput Expedition on August 15, 1899.
The Temple of Pachacamac and the Temple of the Sun. The excavation by Max Uhle of the large city of Pachacamac near Lima, Peru laid the foundations of scientific archaeology in the Andes. His work produced the first major evidence of a long sequence of cultures in the New World.
The several expeditions led by Harriet Boyd Hawes, Edith Hall, and Richard B. Seager to the Island of Crete may truly bt said to have pioneered in the field and the collections of the University Museum contain, as a result of generous division, objects of every material dating from all periods in the long sequence between Neolithic and Geometric Cretan. Among the famous cemetary sites excavated are Pseira, Pachyammos, Sphoungaras, Vasiliki, and Vrokastro, all in eastern Crete. Gournia, in addition, was the first extensively investigated town site. The burial jars here shown are in situ at the foot of the hill, Sphoungaras, in one of the cemetaries belonging to the town of Gournia and dating to the Middle Minoan period, about 2000-1600 B.C.
Wapisiana women of British Guiana scraping cassava to be used as food. The Wapisiana is one of the Arawak Indian tried whose customs and material culture were studied by the Amazon Expedition led by William C. Farabee.
The cemetery in two terraces in the slope of the mountains at Dra abu Neggah on the western side of Thebes, excavated by the Eckley B. Coxe, Jr. Expedition, showing the entrances of rock-cut tombs of the Ramesside ero of about the 13th century B.C. Expedition also worked at Denderah, Giza, and Memphis.
For many years, Louis Shotridge, a Tlingit Indian, was a member of the Museum staff. Of this picture, taken in his native Alaska, Mr. Shotridge wrote, “Formerly, Chilkoot fishermen fished for salmon from boxes built on stilts in the rapids, feeling for them with long handled gaff hooks.”
The discovery by a British Museum-University Museum Expedition of the Royal Cemetery of about 2500 B.C. at Ur in southern Iraq, with its wealth of gold and silver and precious stones, was one of the most spectacular finds of this century. Here Expedition workmen are digging a deep pit into the slightly earlier cemetery of the Jemdet Nasr period. Sir Leonard Woolley was field director of this expedition.
The principal mount at Tepe Hissar in Iran where an expedition under the direction of Erich Schmidt excavated prehistoric buildings and cemeteries dating from the fourth to the second millennium B.C.
The final stage in the excavation of three superimposed Maya temples of the Classic Maya at Piedras Negras, Guatemala. The middle period stairway has been partly cut away to show the earliest pyramid stairway below it, and the right half of the upper terraces has been removed to show the earliest building and its platform. In addition to Piedras Negras, the Museum has conducted excavations at two other Maya sites – Caracol in British Honduras and Tikal in Guatemala where work is still in progress.
The two principal masked dancers of the Thoma Secret Society with villagers at Shenge on Sherbro Island, Sierra Leone. Henry U. Hall, who studied the people of Sherbo Island, stated that every man to have any standing at all in the community must belong to either the Poro or the Thoma Society and every woman must be a members of the Bundu Society.
Excavation of a cemetary in a dry river bed in the Coclé region of Panama uncovered fraves of important chiefs who had been buried with their retainers. The graves yielded exquisite gold jewelry and large gold plaques as well as must painted pottery; they date from about A.D. 1000.
1952 and 1954
Among the people studied be an expedition to the New Guinea area sponsored jointly by the University Museum and the Anthropology Department of the University of Pennsylvania under the direction of Ward H. Goodenough were the West Nakanai of New Britian, an important part of whose culture in honor of the dead. Here a dancer with a drum emerges from a cloud of dust with other dancers dimly seen in the background.
The aim of the expedition to Gordion, west of Ankara on the Anatolian plateau, is an intensive investigation of the previously unknown Phrygian culture, which reached its greatest height about 740-680 B.C. Gordion was then the capital of the Phrygian empire and was protected by a heavy stone wall, the southeast gate of which is seen here from the interior. In the succeeding period the towers to the left and right of its opening were trimmed down to form the foundation for the Persian or “archaic” gate, a remnant of which is seen in the dark masonry resting upon the Phrygian white limestone. The untidy looking pile of fill beyond was added by the Persians to support their approach on the later higher level. The smaller walls in the foreground belong to Phrygian buildings of “megaron” type. In the distance is a general glimpse of the cemetery mounds, for the most part of Phrygian and Persian date. The three largest, showing a tunnel and two open cuts, yielded rich grave grounps of the late 8th century B.C.
A new departure is the adapting of techniques used on land to underwater archaeology. Here a diver makes a drawing of the cargo of an early 7th century B.C. shipwreck lying in 140 feet of water off the coast of Turkey. All of the wine jars lying under the wire grid have been labelled with lettered plastic tags to aid the architect in his plans and sections.