Richard Hodges: A Museum for the Coming Ages

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – these days the Penn Museum – was conceived in the late 19th century to bring the world and its past to Philadelphia at the zenith of the Gilded Age. Time has never stopped still here. The Museum has been through several iterations as a place to visit, but never, despite a global pandemic, looked so bright, colourful, and enriching. Whatever the world throws at it, this is the jewel in the crown of this Ivy League university.


Travel: Hamilton Grange

Exploring a Founding Father’s mobile home Why was a 19th-century New York house relocated twice – and how was it done? Carly Hilts travelled to Harlem to find out. In 2008, the inhabitants of Harlem – an uptown neighbourhood of New York City – were met by an extraordinary sight: a house, more than 200 […]

Museum: Smithsonian Institute

Ceramics of the Ancestors Central America’s ancient past at the Smithsonian Institution By 1500 BC, the inhabitants of Central America had settled in large villages. This more sedentary lifestyle and the development of maize farming that came with it allowed rapid population growth, and the evolution of complex and sophisticated forms of organisation, religion, and art. […]

James Fort APV JR3081

Cannibalism at Jamestown colony

Ongoing excavations at Jamestown, VA, the first permanent English settlement in America, have revealed grisly evidence that within months of establishing the outpost, its desperate inhabitants had resorted to dismembering and eating a child. Contemporary written sources from Jamestown refer to the winter of 1609-1610 as the ‘Starving Time’, a devastating period when around 80% […]

1950s time capsule found at Cold War reactor

Environmental workers have made an unexpected discovery while preparing a building on the site of Hanford’s Cold War-era nuclear reactor in Washington for demolition: a time capsule from the 1950s. In a building close to the site’s D reactor – a relic of the Manhattan Project, involved in the development of the Atomic bomb – the team […]


The Manhattan Project

Tom St John Gray reports on the legacy of the atomic bomb: is it heritage, horror, or both?


Straits of Florida: Black Rats & Spanish Pearls

Shipwercked off the Florida Keys In 1622, the Tierra Firme fleet, laden with gold, silver, pearls, and rats, was sunk off the Florida Keys. Sean Kingsley and Ellen Gerth describe 20 years of research into the world’s first deep-sea wreck excavation, and discover a time capsule of daily life from the dying days of Spain’s […]

Alaska: Chinese buckle

An ancient Chinese-style bronze buckle found by a team from the University of Colorado Boulder in Alaska may prove the earliest evidence of trade links with East Asia. The CU-led excavations are part of a National Science Foundation-funded project to study human responses to climate change at Cape Espenberg from AD 800 to AD 1400, […]

Smithsonian: Tang Treasures special report

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC has withdrawn from hosting a controversial maritime exhibition. Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds was due to open in the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery in spring this year, but has been cancelled following a two-day conference in December 2011, attended by an international advisory committee of experts that included the […]

Yorktown: America’s first stoneware potter

Archaeologists in Yorktown, Virginia have found a well-preserved kiln site manufacturing fine stoneware pottery at a time when colonial pottery-making was banned: the illegal pottery was set up as a sign of the growing American desire for economic independence from the British Crown, and a desire to end the imposed reliance on imported British-made goods. […]

USA: Staffordshire Hoard goes stateside

The Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure to be found in the UK, has gone on tour to America. more than 100 artefacts, including some of the collection’s most famous finds – like the gold and garnet sword-fitting, the helmet cheek-piece, and the folded cross – are now on display at Washington DC’s […]


Alaska: Oldest subarctic North American human remains found

In Alaska, the cremated remains have been found of a three- year-old child who might have been one of the earliest inhabitants of North America to arrive via the land route. University of Alaska Fairbanks archaeologist Ben Potter and four colleagues found the remains while excavating a fire pit within an ancient dwelling at the […]

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