Richard Hodges, our regular columnist has recently been appointed Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, America. This is one of the world’s great museums, sending out expeditions to every corner of the globe. So when Richard proposed a special issue of Current World Archaeology, devoted to the work of Penn Museum (as it is known for short), we leapt at the opportunity to report on some of the world’s most impressive archaeological projects.
Penn Museum was founded on a grandiose scale in the 1880s, and we open the issue with a review of its rollercoaster history. We then follow with two features on the great civilization of the Maya of Mesoamerica. This is an area in which Penn has taken a particular interest. Already in the 1950s and ’60s, they busied themselves at glorious Tikal (our cover shot). Currently, they are digging at Cop