Earlier in our 200 Objects in 200 Days series, we featured archaeological examples of spindle whorls from the fifth and fourth millennium BC in Iran (Day 70) and the Aztec period in the Valley of Mexico (Day 119). Spinning with whorls and spindles is a technology that people have invented in many times and places and which is still in use in many regions. Anthropologists Robert L. and Gertrude Dole Carneiro collected this example of a spindle and whorl (both made of wood) during their 1954 research among the Kuikuiri (Kuikuru) Indians on the Upper Xingu River in Mato Grosso, Brazil. The wooden spindle shows some wear, which would have come from its use in spinning cotton or possibly palm fiber.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.