In this first issue of Expedition for 2007 we are excited to present feature articles highlighting a wide variety of archaeological research. These include a comparative study of material culture, observations derived from ethnoarchaeology, the implications of “authentic” archaeological reconstructions, and a report on excavation results.
We begin in the Middle East, where archaeologists explore the significance of pottery forms and styles that persisted for 2,000 years at a wide range of sites—do these provide evidence of large-scale migrations, extensive trade networks, or long-term cultural assimilation? Next we jump to South America, where an archaeologist studies the hunting, fishing, and collecting behaviors of native Venezuelans to gain insight about traditional foraging and tools—including the over 1,000 examples he has donated to our Museum.
Our third feature article takes us to Scandinavia, where a Swedish living history museum grapples with reconstructing the past as accurately as possible—how far should one go to bring the past to life? We then head south to Croatia, where a team of archaeologists has excavated a cave that was home to Middle Paleolithic hunters who used Mousterian tools—does this mean they were Neandertals?
This issue also introduces the new Chairman of the Board of Overseers for the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. From the Archives you will read about a 20th century movie star who visited our Mesoamerican Gallery in 1961, and the Curator of the Museum’s Asian Section discusses the gradual recognition during the last century of what he has dubbed the “Middle Asian Interaction Sphere.” As usual, our Museum Mosaic will inform you about some of the Museum’s recent and upcoming events, and we end with an interesting description of the trials and tribulations of doing fieldwork high in the Andes—unfortunately in the footsteps of Conquistadors.
We always welcome feedback and hope you find this issue and our website (http://penn.museum/expedition-magazine.html)—which now hosts a full archive of back issues of Expedition—worth sharing with your family and friends.