Keepers of the cultural memory

In wartime, saving human lives is a top priority. But secondary considerations often include preserving the cultural heritage also under siege. Penn experts offer their thoughts as the situation in Ukraine continues to unfold.

Michele W. Berger

Studying the past through a modern-day lens

In a Q & A, archaeologist and PIK Professor Lynn Meskell discusses her background, the subjects that interest her—from espionage to World Heritage sites—and collaborations that have organically arisen at Penn despite the pandemic and a mostly remote first year.

Michele W. Berger

In the News

NBC News

Laser-scanning tech uncovers huge network of ancient Mayan farms

Emily Hammer of the School of Arts and Sciences commented on research that used lasers to unveil a network of ancient Mayan farms. “This important study and others like it are demonstrating that large-scale ancient modification of land surfaces in tropical zones across the world likely contributed to the early beginnings of a period in which humans became a significant transformative force in the Earth system,” she said.


The New York Times

Israeli scientists brew beer with revived ancient yeasts

Patrick McGovern of the School of Arts and Sciences was cited for his work studying and recreating ancient beverages.


Philadelphia Inquirer

Schuylkill Yards development may rest on the Quaker dead

David Brownlee of the School of Arts and Sciences and Aaron Wunsch of the Stuart Weitzman School of Design commented on the existence of historic graveyards beneath the Schuylkill Yards development near Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.



Declassified U-2 spy plane photos are a boon for aerial archaeology

Emily Hammer of the School of Arts and Sciences authored a study that revealed that declassified Cold War-era aerial photographs can help archaeologists and anthropologists study lost historical sites. “Older images are much better, because archaeology is in many ways a race against time,” Hammer said.



Blue pigment in 1,000-year-old teeth links women to the production of medieval manuscripts

The Libraries’ Nicholas Herman offered commentary on a study that used bio-archaeology to identify ultramarine in the dental tartar of an 11th-century woman in rural Germany. “Only by looking very closely at new kinds of evidence can we begin to discover the true importance of female artisans,” said Herman.


BBC News

Meet the Dogs Being Trained to Sniff Out Looted Ancient Treasures

The School of Veterinary Medicine’s Working Dog Center is collaborating with Red Arch Cultural Heritage Law & Policy Research to train five dogs to identify stolen artifacts. (Video)