This issue of Expedition marks a transition in more ways than one. First and foremost, we introduce our readers to Richard M. Leventhal, the new Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, who replaced Jeremy A. Sabloff on July 1, 2004.
Second, we mark a changing of the guard in the editorship of the magazine. On April 5, 2004, Beebe Bahrami left Expedition to pursue her anthropological interests. As her colleague and friend, I am honored to have been able to continue the work she began and to see her vision come to fruition for this special issue on Ritual Places. It was her hard work, along with that of our guest editor, Brenda J. Bowser, that brought our feature articles together to present our readers with a diverse selection of voices studying and exploring the meanings of special places, both past and present, around the world. From Mesoamerican pyramids to Amazonian houses, from Hopi sacred landscapes to South Asian temple districts, and from mysterious stone structures in Cameroon to a special feature photo essay on sacred places in Southeast Asia, this issue explores the meaning of different spaces, emphasizing the ritual nature of places.
On a sadder note, this issue also notes the passing of a cherished member of the Museum’s community. Mary Virginia Harris touched the lives of many people in and around the Museum over the years. She will be missed, but also remembered.
JAMES R. MATHIEU, PH.D.