Volume 9 : Articles

South Asia’s Earliest Writing

Photo of stamp seal
Still Undeciphered

By: George F. Dales

The introduction of the art of writing is recognized as one of the most crucial advances in the history of civilizations. Some scholars have asserted that without writing advanced civilization is impossible. Others have remarked that in antiquity there was virtual technological parity between barbarian and civilized communities and that the practice of writing was […]

Marie Lemoine Harrison

By: Froelich Rainey

We of the University Museum staff are all too sharply reminded by the death of Mrs. Charles C. Harrison, Jr. on August 7, 1966 of the interrelation between the Museum and the Harrison family for nearly seventy-five years. Many of Philadelphia’s leading families, Peppers, Clarks, Coxes, Houstons, and Madeiras, to name a few, have been […]

Varieties of Amhara Graphic Art

occult drawing

By: Allan Young

The Amhara are the politically dominant people of modern Ethiopia. Agriculturalists of the northern highlands, they are the descendants of an indigenous Hamitic people, whose culture and physical appearance became strongly Semiticized by numerous invasions from south Arabia. A second important influence in the development of Amhara culture was heralded by the introduction of Christianity […]

Reflections on the Mesopotamian Flood

The Cuneiform Data New and Old

By: Samuel Noah Kramer

Historiography, the writing of history, was hardly a favorite subject of the ancient Mesopotamian academicians and men of letters. Lacking the essential intellectual tools of definition and generalization, and immobilized by a sterile, static view of man and his past, they became at best archivists and chroniclers rather than interpreters and expositors of historical truths. […]

Archaeological Exploration in Northern Ceylon

photo of object

By: Vimala S. Begley

In 1926 Hocart wrote that “what is needed for Ceylon archaeology is a stratified site” (A.M. Hocart in Archaeological Survey of Ceylon, Annual Report, 1926:15); today, some forty years later, this statement still applies. Several factors have been detrimental to the growth of this aspect of archaeological research. The island of Ceylon has been considered an […]

A Mochica Potato Bird

By: Alfred Kidder, II

Peru is famous for rich, natural resources, animal, vegetable and mineral, that about in its varied geographical zones from the arid Pacific Coast, over the high Andes and down to the tropical forests of the Amazon basin. The pottery vessel herein illustrated is an example of the depiction of two of these resources in a […]

Mary Hamilton Swindler

January 1, 1884 - January 16, 1967

By: Machteld J. Mellink

Mary Hamilton Swindler, Consulting Fellow of the University Museum, died on January 16, 1967. Mary Swindler, through a long career of teaching at Bryn Mawr College (1912-1949) had inspired generations of students in Greek, Latin, and Archaeology. An Indiana University B.A. and M.A., she obtained her Ph.D. at Bryn Mawr (1912) after study in Berlin […]

The Archaeology Explosion

Photo of pyramids

By: Froelich Rainey

A recent issue of Courier published by UNESCO, makes the point that archaeological monuments and museums spark tomorrow’s tourist explosion in many parts of the world. Jets and the affluent society in Europe and America now make possible the massive movement of people right around the world to regions and countries which were little known to […]

Yengema Cave

Group of laughing men

By: Carleton S. Coon

Like other non-professional soldiers during the second World War I made some close friends whom I saw little if ever in later years. Among them was an Englishman, Edward C. Wharton-Tigar. One sunny afternoon in late September, 1965, Mr. Wharton-Tigar happened to be in New York on business. Faced with an hour or two of […]

Alaskan Survey

By: Herbert L. Alexander

An expedition into the wilderness north of the Brooks Range in Alaska, where the nearest people are four days’ walk away and the closest supplies might as well be on the moon, naturally this does not happen by chance. Unanswered questions raised by other expeditions into the far north, clues to possible discoveries of significance, and in this […]