The Museum Journal

The scope and purpose of the Journal make it a standard publication of merit, containing much information regarding exploration and kindred topics which cannot be had elsewhere... It will relate the history of expeditions in the field and give descriptions of all new acquisitions.

A New Departure — Volume I - Number 1 (1910)


Portrait of men on the aerial expedition in front of their plane

Aerial Expedition to Mexico and Central America

This 1930 expedition investigated the ancient Maya civilization of Central America from both air and land, particularly in those areas not previously covered by either method. Along with taking breathtaking photographs, the expedition also discovered several new archaeological sites amongst the rainforest and rivers, and provided new geographical and ethnological data.

A silver harp in situ at Ur

Joint Expedition of The British Museum and The University Museum to Mesopotamia

Ur was one of the first famous archaeological digs. The excavations uncovered some of the most well-known and celebrated art from Mesopotamia. These excavations in southern Iraq lasted from 1922 to 1934, and entranced the press and readers in the US and England with the magic of archaeology and ties to familiar biblical stories. C. Leonard Woolley directed the Joint Expedition of the British Museum and the Penn Museum, and the copious artifacts were divided between these two museums and the Baghdad Museum in Iraq.

The Pyramid at Giza

The Eckley B. Coxe, Jr. Expedition

The Eckley B. Coxe, Jr. Expedition took place over the course of several decades, and spanned a multitude of archaeological sites. Among these locations include Memphis, Giza, Meydum, Thebes, and Dendereh, with many of the excavations lead by Alan Rowe and Clarence Fisher. In addition to furnishing significant information on the history, culture, and funerary practices of this critical transitional period in Egyptian civilization, these excavations provided the Penn Museum with a wealth of important artifacts, including ceramics and other funerary offerings, inscribed stelae, and a variety of architectural elements from the tombs.

Rooms east of the Temple of Amenophis III

Expedition to Beth Shean

Beth Shean was to be the first major excavation in the Near East after World War I. Work began with cutting into the medieval and classical strata of the tell’s high southern platform, which uncovered evidence of an Ummayadqasr-type (palace or mansion) walled enclosure, an unusual Byzantine round church, and seven Byzantine houses. Investigations expanded to include a necropolis and Byzantine monastery near the city’s northern edge, from which came many of the artifacts currently on display.


Portrait of Leon Legrain in the field

Leon Legrain

Legrain was an epigrapher Curator of the Babylonian Section the of Penn Museum. He specialized in cuneiform, and lent his expertise to the excavations at Ur. He published several works translating tablets, cylinder-seals, and inscriptions, and facilitated the research and display for the artifacts received from the Ur excavations.

Portrait of C. W. Bishop with a camera

C. W. Bishop

Bishop was a archaeologist and Curator of the Asia Section for the Penn Museum. He made several archeological surveys in China, Japan, and Korea, and led excavations at Neolithic sites in China. He greatly expanded the Asian Section’s collections of the Museum through his travels.

Portrait of William C. Farabee on a horse

William C. Farabee

Farabee was one of the great forgotten American explorers and anthropologists. He lead the Penn Museum’s Amazon expedition, a three-year journey up and down the Amazon River and its tributaries, exploring and mapping remote regions. He collected vast amounts of detailed enthographic records, and helped found the study of human genetics.

View Articles