Exploring Iran: The Photography of Erich F. Schmidt, 1930-1940 Opens at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Exploring Iran: The Photography of Erich F. Schmidt, 1930-1940, a new exhibition of more than 50 archival photographs from Iran, complemented by a representative sampling of ancient artifacts, including painted pottery, alabaster and copper/bronze figurines from the archaeological excavations at the Bronze Age site Tepe Hissar, opens at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology October 2nd through December 9th, 2007.

In 1931, the University of Pennsylvania Museum launched the first American archaeological expedition to Iran, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to excavate at the Bronze Age site of Tepe Hissar. Erich F. Schmidt, a young German archaeologist trained at Columbia University, was chosen to lead the groundbreaking expedition, which yielded surprising new evidence of a sophisticated Bronze Age culture and society that dates to about 4500 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era), or 6,600 years ago.

A careful and dedicated scholar, Schmidt took pains to document the expedition, and his travels and surveys in and around Iran, with some video and nearly 2,600 photographs taken by him and by two professional photographers, over ten years. Their many images depict, not only the important Tepe Hissar excavations, but also the extraordinary historical monuments and landscapes, villagers and nomads of the region that Schmidt’s team encountered.

Dr. Ayse Gürsan-Salzmann, Penn Museum Research Associate, has worked extensively with the Museum’s Tepe Hissar collection and has recently returned from attending a conference in Iran. Her book with the same title as the exhibit was published by the Museum (2007), and is available to order online (www.museum.upenn.edu/new/publications/index.shtml), by phone (1-800-537-5487), and at Penn Museum in the Museum Shops.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, located at 3260 South Streets on the Penn campus in Philadelphia, is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage. For general information, visitors may call (215) 898-4000, or visit the Museum’s award-winning website at http://www.penn.museum.


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