Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Penn halting time’s assault on bronze Iraqi antiquities
Julia Lawson's gloved hand moves with short, precise strokes, each pass of her scalpel kicking up a small cloud of ancient dust and rock particles.

Little by little, she reveals a piece of history underneath the rocky crust: a 4,500-year-old bronze knife blade from the cradle of civilization.

Spread on a table before her, in a lab at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, are dozens of similar items - fragile bowls, arrowheads and tools from the Mesopotamian city of Ur.