Curator Henry Wright excavated this ceramic vessel from the fourth-millennium BC site of Tepe Farukhabad in southwestern Iran. The vessel dates to the Middle Uruk period (c. 3800–3450 BC), a time of dramatic change in the region. During this time, the small village on the edges of Mesopotamia became increasingly absorbed in the expanding political and economic networks that characterized the period of early state formation. Uruk ceramics were highly standardized across a broad region and, like this vessel, were often wheel-made, mass produced, and undecorated. During Wright’s excavations in the 1960s and 1970s, the Iran government practiced a system of division, allowing subsets of archaeological materials recovered by international teams to be brought to foreign institutions. As a result, the Museum curates important collections of provenienced archaeological materials from research by Wright and his colleagues at Tepe Farukhabad and other Iranian sites.
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.