Fibulae, or brooches, were the safety pins of the ancient Europe from the first millennium BC through the mid-first millennium AD. The changing styles of fibulae serve as important chronological markers. These were donated to the Museum by Mrs. Edna Thuner Woodbury. She described them as belonging to the Bronze Age Halstatt Period (8th to 6th centuries BC), a period of emerging complexity and elaborate metallurgy. While they may well have come from Austria, they are in fact significantly later and are Roman forms from the first to second century AD. When the Thuner-Woodbury collection arrived in the Museum in 1946 (before any museum staff were actively working in Europe), curator Emerson Greenman enthusiastically noted that it significantly expanded the Museum’s European collections.
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.