Volume 52 : Articles

Bronze Age Languages of the Tarim Basin

By: J. P. Mallory

The earliest accounts of the Tarim Basin depict a society whose linguistic and ethnic diversity rivals the type of complexity one might otherwise encounter in a modern transportation hub. The desert sands that did so much to preserve the mummies, their clothes, and other grave goods also preserved an enormous collection of documents, written on […]

Textiles from the Silk Road

Intercultural Exchanges among Nomads, Traders, and Agriculturalists

By: Angela Sheng

Silk was one of the most luxurious commodities traded along the many routes of the Silk Road. But one should not assume that only silks were traded, or that silks were the most important of all exchanged goods. Since the late 19th century, archaeologists have unearthed textile fragments made of other fibers such as wool, […]

The Mummies of East Central Asia

By: Victor H. Mair

In 1988, while visiting the Ürümqi Museum in China, I came upon an exhibition which changed the course of my professional life. At the time, my academic career focused on the philological study of manuscripts from caves at Dunhuang, a site where the Silk Road splits, proceeding to the north and south. But after I […]

New Discoveries about the Ancient Maya

Excavations at Nakum, Guatemala

By: Jarosław Zrałka and Wiesław Koszkul

Deep in the jungle of northeastern Guatemala, in the Department of the Petén, lies a Maya site that has only recently revealed its place in the early history of the region. A new excavation at Nakum by Polish archaeologists has uncovered an intact royal tomb from the Late Classic Period (ca. 600–800 CE) and important […]

From the Editor – Summer 2010

By: Jane Hickman

The Curatorial faculty of The University Museum today reached the unanimous conclusion that they would purchase no more art objects or antiquities for the Museum unless the objects are accompanied by a pedigree—that is, information about the different owners of the objects, place of origin, legality of export, and other data useful in each individual […]

Museum Mosaic – Summer 2010

People, Places, Projects

Egyptologist David Silverman Honored in Cairo A Festschrift celebration honoring the lifetime achievements of Dr. David Silverman was held in Cairo, Egypt, at the headquarters of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities on May 8, 2010. The celebration party was hosted by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s Secretary General, Supreme Council of Antiquities. Dr. Silverman, Egyptian Section […]

The World of Soy

Book News & Reviews

By: Jane Kauer

The World of Soy edited by Christine M. Du Bois, Chee-Beng Tan, and Sidney Mintz (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2008). 352 pp., 13 illustrations cloth $40.00 ISBN 978-0-252-03341-4 The World of Soy explores what many view as an alternative, foreign, or new food. Little could be further from the truth. In fact, as the […]

Summer in the City

Around the Museum

By: Erin Jensen and Jennifer Reifsteck

Squeals of laughter fill the air. Campers swarm their counselors asking them to sign their t-shirts. Art projects are taken down from their displays and dispersed to their owners. Hugs, phone numbers, and promises of “See you next year!” are shared among newfound friends. The fifteenth year of the Penn Museum’s summer camp, Anthropologists in the […]

An Early Ivory Bracelet from Central Thailand

From the Field

By: Thanik Lertcharnrit

A piece of an ancient ivory bracelet was recently discovered during the fourth excavation season at the Late Prehistoric/ Early Historic site of Promtin Tai in the Lopburi region of central Thailand. It is one-of-a-kind and a distinctive Iron Age (500 BC–AD 500) artifact in unusually good condition. The fragment was found in an undisturbed occupational layer […]

A Hidden Gem at the Penn Museum

What in the World

By: Heather Hughes

Thanks to the voracious collecting habits of Maxwell Sommerville (1829–1904), the Penn Museum boasts an impressive collection of engraved gems. The former head of the Philadelphia-based publishing firm Sherman & Co., Sommerville fancied himself a glyptic scholar. His collection of 3,300 gems was donated to the Museum upon his death in 1904, but the presence of numerous obvious […]