June 22, 2015 |
During a monthlong European vacation, my husband and I made a detour to the Italian Alps to visit the world-famous "Iceman," Ötzi. There, we found the mummified, centuries-old Copper Age wanderer and much more - a delightfully surprising day among the dead and living. Our destination was Bolzano, a small city tucked into a mountainous corner of Italy near the Austrian border, on the train route from Munich to Verona. Bolzano is home to a museum that showcases the 5,000-year-old Iceman, whose miraculously preserved body was discovered in 1991 by hikers in glacial ice nearby.
April 13, 2015 |
It would be hard for any real-life archaeologist to match the fictional Indiana Jones, but Julian Siggers gives it a good run. Siggers, 50, director of the Penn Museum since July 2012, may not crack a bullwhip or sport a battered fedora, but he does have a fondness for motorcycles and tattoos. He's also handsome, charming, and possessed of an impressive academic pedigree, including a doctorate from the University of Toronto in Near Eastern prehistoric archaeology. Born in England and educated at University College London, he came to Penn from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, where he was vice president for programs, education, and content communication.
March 31, 2015 |
The Hessians were out for blood that autumn day in 1777. They marched 10 miles from Haddonfield to Red Bank, hoping to surprise the American defenders of Fort Mercer on the Delaware River. Instead, they fell into a trap. Many of Britain's German allies passed over the abandoned earthen walls topped with pointed logs, and then cheered, thinking they'd breached the fort and were close to victory. On the other side, though, was another wall - and a deadly hail of artillery and musket fire that cut through their ranks like a scythe.
February 19, 2015 |
When Dave Schwartz was a boy, his father was constantly in the hospital, and his mother would drop him at the Penn Museum while she visited her husband. Beginning in 1961, when he was 8, Schwartz spent years among the mummies, the giant sphinx, and other antiquities. "I'm kind of a museum orphan," he says now, at age 61. "I literally grew up in that museum. " One day, he was tracing hieroglyphs on a 10-foot-tall Mayan limestone monument - his sketches spread all over the floor of the Mesoamerican Gallery - when an older man in a suit stopped and asked the boy what he was doing.
January 12, 2015 |
There is nothing like a dome. Especially when it's as soaring and serene as the one that spans the Chinese rotunda at the Renaissance-style Penn Museum. The tiled canopy rests as lightly as a soap bubble on the walls of the rotunda, 90 feet above our heads, and the spare, unadorned walls make us feel as if we were entering an ancient sanctuary. When this section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology opened on South Street in 1916, visitors marveled at the structure's gravity-defying grace and openness.
November 4, 2014
ISSUE | ENERGY Dig for true costs In news coverage on the Oct. 13 rupture of the Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. Mid-Valley pipeline, which spilled 168,000 gallons of crude oil into a Louisiana creek, it has been noted that the pipeline is 65 years old - the age of retirement. Even so, pumping through the 65-year-old, cast-iron underground pipeline has resumed. Similarly, this region's Mariner East pipeline may soon be pumping gas from the Marcellus Shale wells, and it is 83 years old. It is time for energy companies to put money from their profit margins toward pipeline maintenance.
August 7, 2014 |
Janet Monge knew for years that the Penn Museum had quite the skeleton in its closet, a box of bones supinely displayed, carefully encased in wax, wrapped in burlap, and positioned on a board. "Somebody took great pains to take a very fragmentary skeleton and bring it here," said Monge, the curator who oversees the physical anthropology section of the museum in University City. "Therefore, it must be important. " There was no catalog card or identifying information. So the skeleton sat obscurely for years in a ground-floor storage room at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
February 28, 2014 |
The University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, founded in 1887, amassed many of its treasures during the so-called golden age of museum collecting - an era well known for unprecedented institution-building, less so for cultural sensitivity. (The decades since have brought negotiations and lawsuits over the repatriation of artifacts to various tribes and nations.) That backdrop provides a striking contrast with the museum's newest exhibition, Native American Voices: The People - Here and Now , which opens Saturday.
October 17, 2013 |
When the University of Pennsylvania's 15-ton stone sphinx was brought to Philadelphia from the ruins of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis, its much-anticipated delivery was delayed by, among other things, the 1913 World Series. "Once it arrived in Philadelphia, because the World Series had started, they couldn't get dock workers to unload it," said Alessandro Pezzati, archivist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the sphinx's home for the last century.
August 24, 2013 |
Gillian Wakely, 67, of Center City, the longtime head of education programming at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, died Wednesday, Aug. 14, of colon cancer at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse. Ms. Wakely worked at the museum for 40 years, most of which she spent as head of its education department. She managed nearly 80 volunteer guides. A native of London, Ms. Wakely grew up viewing collections at the British Museum. When she moved to Philadelphia at 26 and visited the Penn museum for the first time, she was immediately captivated by the collections, she wrote in a letter published in the museum's magazine.