April 6, 1996 |
Few objects are as evocative as a musical instrument standing silent. The two lyres in the University of Pennsylvania Museum's exhibit "Ancient Mesopotamia: Royal Tombs of Ur" are especially tantalizing, for scholars have moved closer to understanding just how those instruments sounded and how they were tuned and played by Mesopotamians two thousand years before Christ. The lyres have long been part of the museum's treasures. The larger of the two is for the most part a reconstruction of a large wooden lyre, its strings as long as those of a string bass.
November 13, 1987 |
R U Red E? To play with words? Learn about ancient scripts? Even make up your own language? Everyone in the family is invited to the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania tomorrow for a daylong celebration of "Reading, Writing and Ruins. " This multimedia, multifaceted, multi-cultural event combines the three R's with the flamboyance of Raiders of the Lost Ark. It's a day (from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) of constant and thought-provoking fun. The festivities honor the opening of the museum's exhibit "Tokens to Tablets: Glimpses Into 6,000 Years of the History of the Ancient Near East.
July 22, 2002 |
The people known as Sumerians are credited with starting the first civilization and building the first settlements worthy of being called cities. They also invented writing, and then they wrote and wrote and wrote, filling millions of tablets with their intricate, detailed characters. They left behind everything from religious texts to poetry to receipts, much of which remains preserved 5,000 years later. Understanding the symbols they etched in clay is another matter. The oldest language known left no descendants.
May 16, 1990 |
A little over a century ago, we didn't even know that the Sumerians had existed. They appeared out of somewhere around 3200 B.C. and settled in the vast, dry plain between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, in what is now Iraq. Then, probably around 1900 B.C., they vanished; historians guess that they were absorbed by the Babylonians. For a few centuries, their language continued to be taught in Babylonian schools, but eventually it, too, died out, long before the beginning of the Christian era. Today, thanks in large measure to a University of Pennsylvania scholar named Samuel Noah Kramer, our knowledge of the Sumerians' language and literature has made huge leaps forward.
April 29, 1994 |
Drugs seemed to be all that the four robbers were after, and the druggist, 64-year-old Thomas F.X. Brannan, handed them over willingly. Yet Brannan was shot in the back as he lay face-down on the floor, hoping the robbers would just take what they wanted and go. "It was a willful, deliberate, premeditated act of murder," Assistant District Attorney Roger King told the jury yesterday during opening statements in the trial before Common Pleas Court...
December 30, 2012 |
WENCHI, Ethiopia - The children in this village wear filthy, ragged clothes. They sleep beside cows and sheep in huts made of sticks and mud. They have no school. Yet they all can chant the English alphabet, and some can make words. The key to their success: 20 tablet computers dropped off in their village in February by a U.S. group called One Laptop Per Child. The goal is to find out whether kids using today's technology can teach themselves to read in places where no schools or teachers exist.
December 11, 2014 |
Caitlin Zielinski, 10, thought she wanted a phone for Christmas. She did online research to find models that would meet her requirements - she could text, call, and play games like Be Funky and Skyburger - while acknowledging her parents' - they could tighten the reins if she texted too much or tried to download unapproved apps. Ultimately, Caitlin decided she didn't want to deal with monthly bills, so she revised her Christmas wishes: A laptop is now at the top of her list. Not all children are as likely to weigh the pros and cons of their technological gifts-to-be.
June 22, 2013
The Riddle of the Labyrinth The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code By Margalit Fox Ecco Press/HarperCollins. 384 pp. $27.99 Reviewed by Richard Di Dio If George Smith, the 19th-century Assyriologist, supposedly stripped and ran screaming with excitement through the British Museum upon finally translating the Epic of Gilgamesh , what might happen with a translation exponentially more difficult?...
January 8, 1996 |
On Sept. 7, 1994, Stella Murphy had a prescription for a drug for Parkinson's disease filled at a Rite Aid Pharmacy near her home in Clifton Heights, Delaware County. The label on the bottle of 100 pills identified the drug as Cogentin and spelled out the instructions: "Take 1 tablet every morning. " Murphy, 76, dutifully took the medication as directed for a month, apparently unaware that it was not Cogentin but Coumadin, a potentially dangerous drug that prevents abnormal blood clotting.
September 29, 1986 |
The Sumerians, who thrived from 3500 B.C. to 2000 B.C. between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is now known as Iraq, believed in miracles, and Samuel Noah Kramer doesn't. Nevertheless, if - just if, by some miracle - a time machine were to take him back 5,000 or so years to ancient Sumer, Kramer believes he'd feel pretty much at home. "The Sumerians tended to be litigious, cantankerous, very competitive - just like Americans right now," the grand old man of Sumerian studies said recently, sitting at his desk in the book-lined study of his apartment overlooking the Art Museum.