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Anthropology and Archaeology

I. Program Information

The Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania is housed in the University Museum, and almost all members of the department have curatorial appointments in the Museum. The Museum Director is a professor in the Department of Anthropology, and some anthropology faculty members have the Museum as their appointment base. The Graduate Group in Anthropology draws members from disciplines and departments throughout the University.

The program includes the four subfields of anthropology, cultural/social anthropology, including ethnography/ethnology; biological/physical anthropology, including paleopathology, primate studies, human evolution, human growth, nutrition, epidemiology, and other aspects of medical anthropology; anthropological linguistics; and archaeology, with special emphasis on prehistoric archaeology, methodology, and ancillary archaeomaterials disciplines, such as chemistry and physics. Medieval archaeology is seen as part of history. Other areas of interest are: urban anthropology, ethnographic art, computer applications, and the history of anthropology. Although study and teaching are supported at the B.A. level, the emphasis is placed on teaching and research at the M.A., M.S., Ph.D., and post-doctoral levels.

II. Collection Description

The University Museum Library supports research, study, and teaching in the fields of anthropology and archaeology. It also collects selectively material in other disciplines such as folklore, linguistics, museology, museum conservation, and ethnographic art. The collection includes approximately 110,000 volumes, 5,000 cataloged pamphlets, and 745 serials. Special strengths are in Egyptology, Maya studies and Mesoamerican archaeology, classical archaeology, and the ancient Near East. The Brinton Collection is a special collection of pre-1890 materials relating in large part to Mesoamerican and other indigenous American languages and linguistics. The library has a full set of the Human Relations Area Files on microfiche, and a small subset of these on compact disc. Anthropological Index, Anthropological Literature, Francis, and other important indexes are available in electronic format through Franklin.

Currently the Museum Library is strengthening its holdings in anthropological reference works, as well as monographic literature pertaining to human evolution, threatened societies, applied anthropology, Central Asian archaeology and prehistory, and Mesoamerican ethnography.

III. Guidelines for Collection Development

  1. Chronological

    The collection deals with hominids and precursors of Homo sapiens, and human societies from the Palaeolithic to the present, with an emphasis on non-literate societies.

  2. Formats

    Research results usually first appear in scholarly journals although monographs remain an important vehicle for anthropological studies. Research reports published by university departments, government agencies, and museums, are important for the discipline as are publications from professional societies and associations. Monographic and serial literature have been the primary formats in the collection to date. Machine readable data files, especially CD-ROMs, are of increasing importance as an outlet for the publication of primary descriptive data as well as for basic research materials appropriate to automation (e.g., Human Relations Area Files). The library is increasing its coverage of essential electronic data bases.

  3. Geographical

    There is no geographical limit to the material collected although the traditional peoples of North and Central America, Andean South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania, and southeast Asia are given priority. Central Asia is a collection area of increasing importance for the Museum Library.

  4. Language

    Research production in English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish has traditionally been most significant in anthropology. There are no language restrictions for the collection although English and other Western European languages are emphasized. Transcriptions and analyses of texts in vernacular languages are collected especially from North and Central America, and Oceania.

  5. Publication Dates

    Although there has been significant change in the traditional approaches in the discipline, earlier or historical material remains important. The corpus of ethnographic village and archaeological site studies continues to be significant. At present the Museum Library is acquiring primarily current literature. Retrospective collecting is largely through gifts and other donations, or the re-acquisition of lost materials. In areas being developed, Central Asia for example, retrospective collection building is important.

IV. Principal Sources of Supply and major Selection Tools

The Museum Library attempts to collect at a research level materials pertaining to the curricular and research interests of the faculty and Museum staff. Most new monographs from domestic academic publishers are received through one of several approval plans, supplemented by individual selections from vendors' lists and patron requests.

V. Subjects Collected and Levels of Collecting

Subject Collected Levels of Collecting
Anthropology, General
General works 3F/4F
History 3F/3F/4E
Biography 3F/3F
Methodology 4E/4E
Study and Teaching 4E/4E
Cultural and Social Anthropology
History 4F/4F
Method and theory 4F/4F
Cultural evolution 4E/4E
Applied anthropology 2E/3E/4E
Ecological anthropology 2E/2E/3E
Ethnicity 4F/4F
Ethnographic art 3F/4F
Political anthropolgy 3F/4F
Psychological anthropology 3F/4F
Anthropology of religion 3F/4F
Social organization and social structure 4F/4F
Symbolic anthropology 4F/4F
Urban anthropology 4E/4E
Women; sex roles 4F/4F
Regional Ethnographies
Africa 3F/3F
Asia 3F/3F
Europe 3F/4F
Latin America 3F/4F
Middle East 2E/3F
North America 4E/4E
Oceania 4E/4F
Archaeology, General
History 3E/3E/4E
Method and theory 4F/4E
Prehistoric archaeology by topics 2E/3E/4E
Preservation, restoration, and conservation of antiquities 4E/4E
Scientific and technical applications to archaeology 2E/3E/4E
Conservation archaeology 2E/2E/3E
Regional Prehistory
Africa 2E/3F
Asia 3F/3F/4F
Europe 3F/3F/4F
Mediterranean (Greco-Roman) 4W/4F
Latin America 4F/4F
Middle East 4F/4F
North America 3E/3E/4E
Oceania 3E/3E
Physical Anthropology
Human evolution 3E/4E
Human paleontology 2F/2E/3E
Human variation 3E/3E
Population genetics 3E/3E
Medical anthropology 3E/3E
Sociolinguistics 2E/2E
Individual languages and dialects 2E/3F

VI. Subjects Excluded

Folklore is generally collected at Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, except when it presents a primarily anthropological perspective. Human anatomy is excluded, although it is taught as part of physical anthropology. Sociological treatments of contemporary ethnic populations are excluded. Ethnographic studies in vernacular languages of the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia, are usually excluded.

VII. Cooperative Arrangements and Related Collections

Other collections at the University of Pennsylvania of interest to patrons of the Museum Library include the following: Annenberg School for Communication (ethnographic film collection); Biomedical, Dental, and Veterinary Libraries (Human evolution and medical anthropology); Center for Judaic Studies (Ancient Near East, including languages and archaeology, and Semitic studies); Demography Library of the Population Studies Center (historical and population demography); Fisher Fine Arts Library (Greek and Roman architecture and sculpture); Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center (Classical Mediterranean languages and literature; Folklore; Ethnomusicology; Linguistics; Latin American, Middle East, Russian and East European, and South Asia and East Asia area collections); Van Pelt Ormandy Listening Center (ethnomusicology); and Special Collections (Manuscript materials of the Brinton Collection).

Complementary collections in the region include the American Philosophical Society (for Native American studies), and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (Quaker Archive), and Presbyterian Historical Society contain materials pertaining to the study of local indigenous populations. The Academy of Natural Sciences is used for supporting ancillary studies in botany, geology, paleontology, and related sciences, and the College of Physicians Library is useful for physical and medical anthropology. The best collection in the region supplementing the Museum Library holdings in archaeology is the Art and Archaeology Library at Bryn Mawr College. Important early archaeology materials are in the Library Company of Philadelphia, Syro-Palestinian and Near Eastern materials at the Annenberg Research Institute and Gratz College, and Classical art and archaeology at Princeton University.