These ceramic discs of stone and ceramic date to the fourth millennium BC and come from the site of Farukhabad in southwestern Iran, excavated by curator Henry Wright. They are spindle whorls: perforated discs that fit onto a wooden or metal rod and are used in spinning yarn from plant or animal fibers. Domesticated sheep and goats were likely the sources of the fibers spun at Tepe Farukhabad. During the Middle and Late Uruk periods, spinning was likely a part-time occupation within households. Yarn may have been exported from the site for weaving in full-time workshops.
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.