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Tureng Tepe, Iran expedition records

PU-Mu. 1027

Tureng Tepe, a site dating from approximately 3100-2900 B.C. through 1900 B.C. in northeast Iran was excavated by Frederick R. Wulsin during two short field seasons in 1931. Although the expedition was directed by Wulsin, a University of Pennsylvania Museum staff member who was a curator of Anthropology during 1930-1932, the expedition was sponsored by the Atkins Museum of Fine Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. Records relating to the excavation at Tureng Tepe are limited, and consist of 2.3 linear feet of correspondence, field notes, and indexes and catalogues.

Summary Information

Creator(s)Jayne, Horace Howard Furness, 1898-1975
Wulsin, Frederick R. (Frederick Roelker), 1891-1961
Date(s)[bulk] Bulk, 1930-1932
[inclusive] 1930-1967
Call NumberPU-Mu. 1027
Physical DescriptionExtent: 2.3 Linear feet

Biography / History

Tureng Tepe, a site dating from approximately 3100-2900 B.C. through 1900 B.C. in northeast Iran was excavated by Frederick R. Wulsin during two short field seasons in 1931. Although the expedition was directed by Wulsin, a University Museum staff member who was a curator of Anthropology during 1930-1932, the expedition was sponsored by the Atkins Museum of Fine Arts in Kansas City, Missouri.

In 1930, Wulsin and his wife Susanne were living in Teheran where they were promoting the archaeological interests of the University Museum by making diplomatic overtures to Teheran officials. When the Iranian antiquities laws were revised in 1930, Wulsin made a preliminary survey for archaelogical sites in the Astarabad region (northeast Iran) and with E. Herzfeld in the Damgham area. Eventually, at Herzfeld's recommendation, Wulsin selected Tepe Hissar and the Citadel at Damghan as sites suitable for excavation by the University Museum (cf. Near East/Iran/Tepe Hissar). The Director of the Museum, H. Jayne, decided that another project could be undertaken in northeast Iran at Tokimakh Tepe which lies north of Astarabad. The original permit from the Persian government was for Tokhmakh Tepe, but a natural mound and that Tureng Tepe would yield more artifacts.

Langdon Warner, a colleague of Jayne, procured the financial assistance of the Atkins Museum of Fine Arts. At first Jayne intended that the University Museum would pay Wulsin's salaries as the Museum's share of the financial contribution. However, the trustees of the William Rockhill Nelson Trust at the Kansas City Museum wanted complete sponsorship of this Project and so they assumed total financial responsibility for the expadition. The University Museum contributed funds for the Wulsins' return trip to the United States and a loan of equipment and staff in return for a portion of the archaeological artifacts recovered from the excavation.

As it happened, the trustees at the Kansas City Museum were not pleased with the Tureng Tepe archaeological material and the University substituted other Near and Far Eastern art objects from the Museum collections. The University Museum also gave as a gift a small representation sample of Tureng Tepe objects (cf. General Correspondence and Reports/General Correspondence, 1967, concerning the present location of the Tureng Tepe objects). This situation may have made the field notes and indexes and catalogs more confusing since some object cards and entries in the object catalog are marked with K.C., designation since Kansas City initially refused Tureng Tepe objects. The Director's Files, Jayne (1929-1940) under Langdon Warner, Kansas City Museum and J.C. Nichols should be checked for further information concerning the financial terms of the project and the transfer of University Museum objects.

Scope and Contents

The Photographic collection should be checked for photographs. Some are located in the oversize photograph collection. Daher (1969) mentions that photographs of much of the pottery and all of the burials are missing, although the Museum negative card catalog indicates many pots recorded by field number and Museum accession number.

Administration Info

Publication Information: University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives, August 2009

Finding Aid Author: Finding aid prepared by Kathy Moreau

Use Restrictions: Although many items from the archives are in the public domain, copyright may be retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. The user is fully responsible for compliance with relevant copyright law.

Related Materials

A film from Carleton Coon's work in Iran in 1951, including footage of Tureng Tepe, is available on the internet archive. http://www.archive.org/details/upenn-f16-4049_1951_Hotu_Man

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)


Geographic Name(s)

Personal Name(s)


Collection Inventory

General Correspondence and Reports (bulk: Bulk, 1930-1932) (inclusive: 1930-1967)

Scope and Contents note

Letters and telegrams (1931-1932, 1967); excavation reports (1931); reports and notes (1956) on F.R. Wulsin's notes and publication (1932); expense accounts (1930-1932); papers and notebooks relating to residents (particularly government orricials and archaeologists) of Teheran and personal notebooks, primarily of S.C. Wulsin.

General Correspondence, 1931, Box 1
General Correspondence, 1932, Box 1
Reports on the excavations at Tureng Tepe in June, 1931 and Autumn, 1931, Box 1
Tureng Tepe (+ Asterabad Treasure) - [Notes on Tureng Tepe Reports and rough translation of DeBode, "Tureng Tepe, the Treasure".], Box 1
Reports and Publications (1931, 1932) and related notes (1956), Box 1
General Correspondence, 1967 [Concerning the location of Tureng Tepe objects and records outside the Museum], Box 1
Expense Account, 1930-August 1, 1931, F.R. Wulsin, Box 1
Expense Account, August 1, 1931-March, 1932, F.R. Wulsin, Box 1
American Institute of Persian Art and Archaeology, Box 1
1930-1931, Personal Notebooks [S.C. Wulsin?], Box 1

Field Notes (inclusive: 1930-1931)

Scope and Contents note

Field notebooks and diaries: in some instances, West mound and Main mound entries are within different sections of the same book, which then must be read from the front and from the back (upside-down). Entries are arranged either chronologically, or by excavation area or, in one case, by type of record. Some books include rough sketches, plans and survey notes. Also in this series are a travel journal and notes and abstracts of references concerning Near Eastern particularly Iranian archaeology, arranged by record type.

F. R. Wulsin [Preliminary Research Notes and Travel Diary: Damghan and Asterabad, 1930-1931], Box 2
Wulsin's Notes of E. Herzfeld's course, Box 2
Research notes on "Mission Scientifique en Perse," J. de Morgan, Box 2
Field Notebook, May, 1931-June 12, 1931, Box 2
Field Diaries, West Mound and Main Mound, June 1931, Box 2
Field Notebooks (June, 1931) and Loose Pages (June and Sept.-Oct., 1931), Box 2
October, 1931, Field Notebooks, Box 3
Field Notebook, entries arranged by excavation area, Box 3
Diary of excavations at Tureng Tepe. Permanent record condensed from field notes, F.R. Wulsin [Records of test pits, surveys, trench records, burial records and a photographic record], Box 3
[Survey/Field Book, Herr Sewald?], Box 3
Memorandum to accompany map of excavations at Tureng Tepe, Box 3

Indexes and Catalogs (1931)

Scope and Contents note

Object catalog (June and October, 1931), compilations arranged by object field number (1-667) and another by object type; object cards ordered by field number and by artifact type; butial cards, some with sketches of the skeletal position, ordered by burial number; lists of objects arranged by either object type or by burial (these are on cards) or by number and photographs.

Catalog, Tureng Tepe, Asterabad, June, 1931 to -, F.R. and S.C. Wulsin, Box 4
[Pot and Potsherd Catalog], Box 4
[Notebooks with Potsherd Drawings], Box 4
[Lists of Burials and List of Flints], Box 4
[Object list (with Museum accession numbers)], Box 4
Tureng Tepe from Field Trip, probably objects were never in the building [Photographs], Box 4
Memoranda on objects, Box 4
[Photographs: plans and pottery, publication materials for Daher thesis (1969)], Box 4
Object Cards, arranged by Field Number (1-180), Box 5
Object Cards, arranged by Object Type, Box 5
Lists of Objects, arranged by burial, Box 5
Object Cards, arranged by Object Type, Box 6
Burial Cards, arranged by Burial Number and Object cards, arranged by Object Type, Box 7