From the Editor – Spring 2006

By: James R. Mathieu

Originally Published in 2006

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Welcome to the first issue of Expedition for 2006! We are pleased to present an eclectic issue covering a wide range of topics, from the anthropology of movies, high fashion, and tourism to the archaeology of prehistoric stone use and the origins of agriculture. Our feature articles begin on the big screen, where movies are proposed as a form of storytelling, mythmaking, and social production that warrants anthropological analysis to better understand what it means to be human. Next, we visit the island of New Guinea to learn about its birds of paradise, the international trade in their feathers, and New Guinea’s historical place in the world of high fashion. From there we journey to Jordan in the Middle East to discover what ancient stones can tell us about prehistoric behavior in the distant past.

Our special feature article provides a short history of the discipline of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. From Anthropology’s first appear­ance on campus in the late 19th century through the founding of the Department of Anthropology in the early 20th century, this article looks at some of the important anthropological figures in Penn’s historic, the roles they played in establishing the Museum and the Department, and their sometimes confrontational relationships.

This issue also introduces you to the Associate Curator-in-Charge of the Museum’s Physical Anthropology Section, while saying goodbye to the long-time Museum vol­unteer, staffer, and friend who “dusted the mummies.”From the Archives you will hear about the Museum’s connection to Lowell Jackson Thomas—the voice of CBS radio’s evening news during the middle half of the 20th century—and his “History of Civilization” fireplace. Our What in the World section relates the fascinating story of a Mesopotamian cylinder seal and what it suggests about the possible future decipher­ment of South Asia’s Indus script.

We also offer short articles about new Museum research on the origins of agricul­ture in Southeast Asia and the partnerships being formed with colleagues in Laos, as well as current research by a nutritional anthropologist on culinary tourism in Tuscan, Italy. As usual, our Museum Mosaic will inform you about some of the Museum’s recent and upcoming events, while our Exhibit Notes section presents the Museum’s connection to the King Tut exhibition coming to Philadelphia next year.We always welcome feedback and hope you find this issue and our website (http://www. worth sharing with your family and friends.


Cite This Article

Mathieu, James R.. "From the Editor – Spring 2006." Expedition Magazine 48, no. 1 (March, 2006): -. Accessed May 30, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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