The Student News Site of Conestoga High School



Freshmen visit Penn Museum for Mesopotamian Exhibit


By Katherine Lee, Staff Reporter

After reading the ancient epic “Gilgamesh” in their World Literature class, Conestoga freshmen visited new exhibits on the Middle East at Penn Museum on Oct. 9 and 19. Highlights of the trip included a lesson on cuneiform and Gilgamesh P, one of the few surviving tablets of the Akkadian version of “Gilgamesh.”

The purpose of this field trip was “to be able to see actual artifacts from the time period students are learning about in their world history class, see stone tablets where the story of Gilgamesh originated, get a better understanding of the genesis of language, (and) learn about cuneiform and how it is written,” English teacher Dori Madigan said. 

Students learned about various artifacts during a guided tour, including ancient works of clay tablets, jewelry, and stone sculptures bearing carvings of figures such as the king of Uruk.

“The guided tour really gave me an insight into the value of learning about our own history, and many of the artifacts made me realize how incredible ancient humans were,” freshman Jeffrey Tan said.

A University of Pennsylvania student studying languages of ancient civilizations gave a lesson on cuneiform, a system of writing characterized by wedge-shaped symbols and used initially by the Sumerian and Akkadian peoples. For the second half of the presentation, each student was given a small piece of soft, red clay. Once flattened out to have a smooth surface, students pressed the edges of wooden sticks into the clay to form wedge shaped symbols.

The cuneiform activity proved to be a favorite of many students, including freshman Suzie Ahn.

“The cuneiform was interesting to learn about in terms of history. It was also challenging, but entertaining to apply our artistic ability and write our name in cuneiform,” Ahn said.

“I hope future freshmen go on this trip as well,” freshman Hannah Zhang said. “It opened our eyes to the history of the world and beginning of literature, and helped us to connect to the wonders of our past.”

Check out the photo gallery below!

Upenn Gilgamesh Field Trip

Katherine Lee can be reached at [email protected].

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