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Volume 58 : Articles

Remembering Erle Verdun Leichty, 1933–2016


By: Grant Frame

Doctor Erle Verdun Leichty, Curator Emeritus of the Babylonian Section of the Penn Museum, Clark Research Professor Emeritus of Assyriology at the University of Pennsylvania, and President of Media, Pennsylvania, died September 19, 2016 at age 83. Though Erle was highly regarded by his fellow Assyriologists, University and Museum colleagues, and students, he was a […]

Banana Recipes from West Africa,1937

photo of bananas
From the Archives

By: Alessandro Pezzati

Henry Usher Hall (1876–1944), Curator of the General Ethnology Section from 1915 to 1935, undertook two expeditions for the Penn Museum in dramatically distinct areas of the world: he was in Siberia in 1914–1915, at the beginning of his career, and in Sierra Leone, West Africa, in 1936–1937, at the end of it. Due to […]

Museum News

photo of Jacobs

Penn Museum Conservation Celebrates 50 Years The Penn Museum’s Conservation Department commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Conservation Lab’s founding by hosting an international symposium. “Engaging Conservation: Collaboration across Disciplines” was held October 6–8, 2016 and included 30 presentations by conservators, archaeologists, and allied professionals from seven countries The very successful meeting was attended by […]

Looking Back

photo of child with dogs

By: Alessandro Pezzati

George Byron Gordon met Suzanne Rognon Bernardi (later Jeffery) in 1905 while in Alaska for the Penn Museum. Bernardi was a teacher from Indiana, who taught at the U.S. Government School in Kingegan, Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, from 1901 to ca. 1906. Kingegan is the westernmost settlement in North America, an Inuit whaling village […]

Mummies: Unraveling History’s Mysteries

Photo of Jane, Page, and Janet with mummy
From the Editor

By: Jane Hickman and Page Selinsky

To many school children and their families, the Penn Museum is known as the “Mummy Museum.” Although visitors are fascinated with objects from the galleries, the mummies are something they always remember. Several years ago, we sat down with anthropology grad student Paul Mitchell and Egyptologist Dr. Steve Phillips to discuss an issue of Expedition […]

Accessible to All

Julian standing by wheelchair ramp
From the Director

By: Julian Siggers

We want the Penn Museum to be accessible to all visitors. This is a priority of our mission—after all, the Museum’s extraordinary research and collections are meant to be shared. You might have noticed one of our newest means of increasing access to the Museum: our new ramp on the west side of the Kamin […]

Mummies Beyond the Grave

An Introduction to Mummy Studies around the World

By: Janet Monge

Over 20 years ago, I got hooked on mummies. It began when we first x-rayed the many South and North American mummies that are part of the Physical Anthropology Section collections at the Penn Museum. This led to a drive to glean even more information from the mummies. For several years, on Sunday mornings at […]

Frozen Mummies of the Andes

Photo of author with mummies
Human Sacrifices in the Sacred Landscape of the Inca

By: Johan Reinhard

The Incas are renowned for massive carved stone structures, the construction of thousands of miles of roads, and the establishment of one of the greatest empires in the ancient Americas. However, one of their achievements remains especially impressive. In just over sixty years (ca. 1470–1532 CE), they constructed stone structures on nearly 100 mountains ranging […]

Ötzi the Iceman

Examining New Evidence from the Famous Copper Age Mummy

By: M. Vidale and L. Bondioli and D.W. Frayer and M. Gallinaro and A. Vanzetti

The Iceman mummy, nicknamed Ötzi, was discovered in 1991 amidst sheets of melting ice on the Tisenjoch pass of the Similaun glacier in the Tyrolean Alps. He was found on the border between Italy and Austria, at an altitude of 3,200 m above sea level. He is a well-preserved male human corpse, dark in color, […]

Preserved in Peat

Photo of part of the body found
Decoding Bog Bodies from Lower Saxony, Germany

By: Sabine Eisenbeiss

Bog bodies—human corpses naturally mummified in the cool, acidic, and low-oxygen environments of peat bogs—have been found in Lower Saxony, Germany, and in other peaty areas of Northern Europe, including the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. These bog bodies date from ca. 8000 BCE to the recent past and are noted for […]