UPenn museum to show Iraqi artifacts

    The University of Pennsylvania Museum is putting the final touches on a new exhibit of ancient artifacts from Iraq.

    The University of Pennsylvania Museum is putting the final touches on a new exhibit of ancient artifacts from Iraq. A complete gold headdress and two 5,000 year-old skulls adorned with jewelry will be on display from the ancient city of Ur. The Penn Museum is one of the few places in the country with documented objects from what is now Iraq.
    Caption: Ram-Caught-in-a-Thicket, ca. 2550 B.C.E., statuette found in the “Great Death Pit”; Photograph by Diane Siebrandt.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091019pciraq.mp3]

    The University of Pennsylvania was part of the original excavation of Ur. The archeologist Sir Leonard Wooley had used the objects he dug up in the 1920’s to popularize a story behind an ancient royal burial site.

    Now, Penn curator Richard Zettler says modern technology and continued scholarship have re-interpreted Wooley’s original analysis.

    Zettler: He used biblical allusions, or things people knew. He was a master of public relations, and a great storyteller. The problem was when he had a story he didn’t vary from it.

    One of the most significant revisions to Woolsey’s record is that the attendants who were buried with the Queen most likely did not voluntarily drink poison, but were probably violent bludgeoned with a sharp object.

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