The skeletal remains of a man who died 6,500 years ago in modern-day Iraq was discovered in a coffin-like box in a storage room at Penn Museum.
Archaeologists travel the globe searching for ancient finds. It turns out that sometimes, they don't need to go any further than a museum's storage room.
That's what happened at the Penn Museum, where a 6,500 year-old-skeleton was discovered in storage.
The skeleton was originally discovered around 1930 in the ancient city of Ur in what is today southern Iraq, near modern-day Nasiriyah. Sir Leonard Woolley and his joint excavation team from the Penn Museum and the British Museum made the discovery.
A project started in 2012 to digitize old records from the 1922-1934 excavations at Ur brought upon the re-discovery of the skeleton and its history.
Curator-in-charge of the anthropology section at the museum, Dr. Janet Monge, was aware the skeleton was in storage.
But without a catalog card or identifying number its significance remained unknown until the records digitalization project began.
By looking over Woolley's field records, researchers were able to identify the skeleton as the one his excavation team unearthed.
An examination of the skeleton revealed it belonged to a man around the age of 50, who was 5'8'' to 5'10'' in height and well-muscled.
The skeleton was also found in its entirety, which is extremely rare not just in the ancient Near East area but especially from the Ubaid period approximately 5500 to 4000 BCE.