The 4,500-year-old crowning jewelry of a Mesopotamian queen. One of the world’s oldest wine vessels. A baby’s rattle. A school child’s first writing primer. A workman’s tool. Through these fascinating objects and over 1,200 more, the Penn Museum’s new Middle East Galleries take you on a journey, exploring how ancient Mesopotamian societies gave rise to the world’s first cities—cities not so very different, in many ways, from our own.
The Penn Museum, with its pioneering work in Near East archaeology, breadth of curatorial expertise, and renowned Near Eastern collection, is uniquely qualified to tell this story. The new 6,000-square-feet suite of three galleries—“Towards Cities,” “Ur: The Great City,” and “The World of Cities”—vividly explores life in the Mesopotamian world, from early writing and record keeping to burial practices, transportation, agriculture, cooking, and the arts.
Development of the Middle East Galleries was led by Dan Rahimi, Executive Director of Galleries, and a curatorial team including:
The opening of the Middle East Galleries will be accompanied by publication of a companion volume and by a special issue of Expedition members’ magazine.