Time for the Maya

No, the ancient Maya did not predict that the world will end in December 2012. Yes, the Penn Museum is taking advantage of the popular fascination with that distinctly North American misinterpretation of the Maya calendar to mount a wide-ranging exhibit examining Maya notions of time and much more about this rich, still-thriving culture.

When West Went East

Victor Mair first encountered the Bronze Age mummies of China’s Tarim Basin 23 years ago. He—and others—have been trying to figure out what those people were doing there ever since.

On Hearths, Ancient and Modern

In which the author takes a break from the rigors of her own ethnographic research in France’s Dordogne region to visit with eminent Penn archaeologist Harold Dibble as he plumbs the mysteries of early human and Neandertal behavior—and plots his next gourmet meal.

At the Mosque Door

Painting by Osman Hamdi Bey, who played a major role in the Penn Museum’s first archaeological dig, at Nippur in the late 1800s.

Man, The Drinker

Biomolecular archaeologist and Penn Museum researcher Patrick McGovern Gr’80 has found some of the oldest alcoholic beverages known to history, and he wants you to take a glug. They might just be responsible for civilization as we know it. (Not to mention your next hangover.)

Fit Enough

An innovative, interactive exhibit at the Penn Museum traces human evolution—big brains, back pains, dental problems and all.

The Ethnologist Sets Out

William Curtis Farabee conducted pioneering studies of the Amazon for the Penn Museum in the early part of the 20th century. His journals and notebooks offer extraordinary glimpses of the area’s indigenous peoples, and the artifacts he brought back offer an unmatched—and still largely unexamined—treasure-trove of cultural materials.

The Radical and the Restorer

As the international blockbuster King Tut exhibition comes to Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, the Penn Museum has unveiled an eye-opening companion show on the radical religious and political experiment imposed by the boy-king’s predecessor (and putative father), the Pharoah Akhenaten.