PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new exhibit at the Penn Museum highlights the very start of the museum with its first archeological dig in what is now modern day Iraq.

Many of the exhibit’s artifacts, photos, and paintings have not been seen in decades — or ever.
The exhibit – Archeologists and Travelers in Ottoman Lands – tells the story of Penn’s first excavation in the late 1880’s in what is now modern-day Iraq. Penn art historian and professor Robert Osterhout says the excavation was riddled with disease and dysentery, surrounded by warring tribes.

“But they found 30,000 cuneiform tablets with writing on them, which are still being studied today in this museum, and they preserve some of our oldest historical records.”

The exhibit ends with the story of the final scandal of the excavation that ended the life of one of the discoverers. Archeologists and Travelers in Ottoman Lands is at the Penn Museum through next June.

Reported By: Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio

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