Meet your new 6,500-year-old friend up-close and personal
Following an early August announcement of a “rediscovered” find in the physical anthropology storage room — a rare, fragile, but largely intact 6,500-year-old human skeleton from the famous Ur excavations will be available for display this weekend at Penn Museum.
Beginning Saturday, Aug. 30, the Ur skeleton will be transported from storage to the museum’s popular, ongoing “In the Artifact Lab.” Part exhibition gallery, part working laboratory, this site invites visitors to watch museum conservators at work on ancient Egyptian mummies — as well as artifacts from the Egyptian section and other collections.
The Ur skeleton will be on partial view while on a working table inside the glass-enclosed lab space, with some images and information provided on a video screen. As soon as conservators complete their work documenting, cleaning, and stabilizing the skeleton, it will move to a display case in front of the lab; then visitors will have an opportunity to get a very up-close view.
“Our goal as a museum and research institution is to share what we love with the public — the thrill of discovery, or in this case, the thrill of rediscovery,” said Julian Siggers, the Penn Museum Williams Director. “Exploring and investigating our shared human past, whether it be in the field, in the lab, in the archives, or in storage, is what makes the field of archaeology and anthropology so exciting for us. We hope our visitors can join us as we make these fascinating connections.”
Conservators estimate that the skeleton will be ready to move to the case by late September (date to be posted on the museum website when known); the skeleton will stay on view through Saturday, Oct. 18, when the museum celebrates International Archaeology Day with a host of family activities and a chance to visit the new Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials.