Volume 23 : Articles

Creating a Sealstone

A Study of Seals in the Greek Late Bronze Age

By: John G. Younger

Our evidence for the techniques of creating a sealstone in the Greek Late Bronze Age (roughly 1600-1200 B.C.) comes almost exclusively from the stones them­selves. Some are unfinished or altered, revealing the artist’s process through his common errors and lapses; others, though finished, still preserve traces of the proce­dure. The reconstruction of the typical technique, […]

The Origin and Development of the Ancient Near Eastern Cylinder Seal

A Hypothetical Reconstruction

By: Leonard Gorelick and A. John Gwinnett

One purpose of this paper is to discuss and speculate on the origin and develop­ment of one of the most unusual and impor­tant lapidary artifacts in mankind’s history, the cylinder seals of the ancient Near East. They were part of the burst of creative energy and invention that accompanied urbanization in Mesopotamia around 3300 B.C. […]

Close Work Without Magnifying Lenses?

Discussion of suggestions from readers of Expedition

By: Leonard Gorelick and A. John Gwinnett

One of the purposes of our paper in the Winter 1981 issue of Expedition called “Close Work Without Magnifying Lenses?” was to present a hypothetical explanation for the ability of ancient craftsmen to effect minute detail before the invention of magnifying lenses. We presented evidence from the scientific disciplines of optics, opthamology, medical genetics, population […]

Lapidaries in the Ur III Period

Written Sources Concerning Stoneworkers (ca. 2000 B.C.)

By: Darlene Loding

Evidence for the products manufactured by stoneworkers in Mesopotamia in ancient times is, of course, best displayed by those objects discovered and subsequently ana­lyzed by archaeologists and, of late, by those individuals interested in certain tech­nical aspects of the production of these artifacts. However, those of us primarily interested in philological problems of the ancient […]

University Museum Announcements – Summer 1981

Museum Exterior

President Sheldon Hackney has asked Robert H. Dyson, Jr., Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Curator of the Near East Section, to combine the Acting Directorship of the Museum with the Deanship during the coming months while a search committee for a permanent Director carries out its task. William R. Coe, Curator […]

Cambay Beadmaking

An Ancient Craft in Modern India

By: Gregory L. Possehl

Cambay is a small city, population about 50,000, on the coast of Gujarat state in western India. This name is an English corruption of Khambhat. It is a center for lapidary craftsmanship, its products reach­ing a market on four continents. The largest of these lapidary undertakings is bead-making, the focus of this paper. The beadmaking […]

Chester Gorman

By: Froelich Rainey

The tragic death of Chester Gorman just as he was completing the proof of one of the world’s great archaeological discoveries is a blow not only to his friends and colleagues at the University Museum in Philadelphia but to everyone in this field of research. His excavations at Ban Chiang in Thailand have proved that […]

Carleton S. Coon

By: Robert H. Dyson, Jr.

Carleton Coon was a large bear of a man with a shock of white hair and a devilish sense of humor. From 1949 to 1964 he was a popular panel member on the Museum’s “What in the World?” program which originated in Philadelphia on WCAU-TV. Carl was noted for his irreverent remarks and direct approach. […]

The Ancient Craft and Art of the Lapidary


In 1971 the papers given at an important symposium on “Archaeological Chemistry” were published. One of the noted partici­pants was Professor Cyril Stanley Smith of M.I.T. The text contained a most thoughtful appendix written by him called “A Post-Symposium Note: Science in the Service of History.” His comments are equally perti­nent to the present symposium […]

New Directions – Spring 1981

By: Martin Biddle

For over ninety years The University Museum has been digging ancient sites and studying contemporary traditional communities virtually alI over the world. Who decided what to investigate and how were these decisions taken? Sometimes, perhaps usually, the decision was taken by the curator concerned and reflected his or her personal research interests; sometimes the decision […]