New Middle East Galleries

  • Penn Museum, Philadelphia
The 4,500-year-old crown jewels of a queen. One of the world's oldest drinking vessels. A baby's rattle. A school child's first writing primer. A workman's tool. The very first spreadsheet. Through these objects and more than 1,200 others, these newly renovated, reconceptualized galleries create a journey exploring how, 10,000 years ago, in the fertile crescent of the Middle East, the most transformative point in our human history was set in motion: the domestication of plants and animals and, with it, the shift from hunting and gathering to farming. Villages developed, then towns. Writing and mathematics developed for record keeping. Mesopotamian societies gave rise to the world's first cities—cities that, it turns out, were not so different from our own. These are the first in a series of gallery renovations taking place at the museum over the next several years.

Penn Museum
Slipper coffin, Nippur, Iraq.
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