New Online Exhibit: Iraq's Ancient Past

Just launched! A new online exhibit for Iraq's Ancient Past: Rediscovering Ur’s Royal Cemetery.

Iraq's Ancient Past WebsiteThe website features material from the exhibition, opening October 25, and tells the story of the discovery and excavation of the Royal Cemetery at Ur in modern-day Iraq.

The material from the 1922-1934 excavation of ancient Ur, located in southern Iraq near present-day Nasiriyah, is perhaps the most important material in the Penn Museum’s collection. The location itself, Biblical Ur of the Chaldees, birthplace of the Patriarch Abraham, holds tremendous importance, while the excavation marked one of the most important archaeological finds to date. The exhibition and its website shed light on these objects, as well as the understanding of archaeological practices from the past and the present, and the issues of cultural preservation in Iraq.

The exhibit tells the story of the remarkable excavation at Ur, and the finding of the Royal Cemetery including the thoughts and theories of Sir Leonard Woolley, who was the head of the excavation for its 12 seasons. Visitors also get a glimpse of the culture of the Sumerian people who created the elaborate cemetery structure more than 4000 years ago. The exhibit presents some modern findings, theories, and insights that have come to light on the objects since their original excavation. Finally, the exhibit will discuss some of the issues of cultural preservation in Iraq, both during the time of the excavation and now.

Visit the website



The Ban Chiang Project Website

Ban Chiang WebsiteNewly launched! The Ban Chiang Project Website

The Ban Chiang Project is dedicated to pursuing scientific research on the prehistoric culture revealed by the excavations at the site of Ban Chiang and neighboring sites in northern northeast Thailand. The investigations are being conducted by a multinational, multidisciplinary team of scholars. Work on Ban Chiang at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is now focused both on bringing to full publication the excavation undertaken in the 1970s and expanding our knowledge of the prehistory of the Middle Mekong River Basin by survey and excavation in Laos.

Visit the Ban Chiang Website


January/February 2010 Calendar of Events

For the most updated information on programs offered at the Penn Museum, and for online pre-registration (optional or required for some programs) visit the Museum's website:

January 6
Wednesday, 6:00 pm
Great Discoveries Lecture Series
China's First Emperor: Man and the Empire for all Eternity 
 Nancy S. Steinhardt, Curator, Asian Section, examines the funerary world of the First Emperor of China, who in death broke with the millennial-old precedent of sacrificial burial and instead had thousands of life-size clay warriors accompany him into the afterlife. A gallery tour and light refreshments follow. This program is part of a monthly Great Discovery Lecture Series running through June 2010. $5 in advance; $10 at the door; Free for Penn Museum members. Information: (215) 898-4890.

January 23
Saturday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
World Culture Family Day: Chinese New Year Celebration
The traditional Chinese Lion Dance Welcome in the Year of the Tiger at the 29th annual day-long extravaganza celebration. Bring the whole family and celebrate the New Year through a wide variety of music and dance performances, children's activities, storytelling, arts and crafts, and martial and healing arts workshops. The day ends with a drum roll, a roar, and the popular Lion Dance parade. Free with Museum admission donation. Museum-wide. Information: (215) 898-4890.

Read more: January/February 2010 Calendar of Events


Penn Museum Special Exhibition Calendar

New Exhibitions:

His Golden Touch: The Gordion Drawings of Piet de Jong
26 September 2009 through 10 January 2010
One of the great archaeological illustrators of the 20th century, Piet de Jong (1887-1967) was invited, in 1957, to the site of Gordion in central Turkey, where the Penn Museum had been conducting excavations since 1950. He prepared drawings of artifacts as well as a series of watercolors that reconstruct the remarkable wall paintings in the so-called Painted House, ca. 500 BCE. It was an extraordinary season at the site, highlighted by the excavation of a large grave mound known as Tumulus MM (the “Midas Mound” for its association with the legendary King Midas or his family), which provided a wealth of information about the Phrygians in the eighth century BCE. His Golden Touch features more than 40 original drawings and watercolors by de Jong, as well as a selection of objects from the Museum’s excavations at Gordion, reproductions of several artifacts from tombs at the site, and excerpts from two rare color films made at the site in the 1950s. Ann Blair Brownlee, Associate Curator in the Mediterranean Section, and Alessandro Pezzati, the Museum’s Senior Archivist, are co-curators of the exhibition, with the assistance of Peter Cobb and Colleen Kron, graduate students in Penn’s Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World program, and Gareth Darbyshire, Gordion Archivist. The exhibition is sponsored by the Turkish Cultural Foundation and an anonymous donor. The Merle-Smith Gallery.

Read more: Penn Museum Special Exhibition Calendar


The Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project

Find out what actually goes on at a dig. Follow the progress of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project as Dr. David Romano and his team of researchers work at the Sanctuary of Zeus during field season 2009.

One of the most famous Pan-Hellenic sanctuaries of ancient Greece, located only 17 miles from its more well-known neighbor at Olympia, Mt. Lykaion claims a spectacular mountain-top location. Find out what the researchers do in the trenches as they work to uncover, conserve, document, illustrate and register objects.


3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-4000


Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
First Wednesdays: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Monday: CLOSED


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