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Upcoming Exhibitions

Excavating Archaeology at the University of Michigan, 1817‐2017

Architectural brick, unfired clay. Karanis, Egypt. University of Michigan Excavations, 1924-1935.

October 18, 2017–May 27, 2018

This exhibition will explore the history of archaeology and museums at the University of Michigan for the past 200 years and look forward to the future of archaeology and museums at Michigan in the coming century. The exhibition will rely on carefully chosen objects, archival documents and images, and other illustrative materials to examine moments in the history of the University of Michigan’s involvements in archaeology and the location of archaeology in the museum environment.

Curators: Terry G. Wilfong and Carla M. Sinopoli

Divergent Cities

City of Notion

August 24, 2018 – January 6, 2019

In 2015, in a controversial column entitled “Detroit, the New Greece,” economist and commentator Paul Krugman argued that Detroit is “an innocent victim of market forces.” Sometimes, he wrote “whole cities ... lose their place in the economic ecosystem. Decline happens.”

The purpose of this exhibition is to showcase three current Kelsey-sponsored field projects in the “Old Greece” (and Rome), each of which offers a different historical perspective on the phenomenon of urban decline, and which collectively shed the light of the past on some of the same issues raised by the current state of Detroit. 

Curator: Christopher Ratté


Pigment bowls. Photo: Sarah Rabe

February 8– May 24, 2019

The Roman world was a colorful place. Although we often associate the Romans with white marble statues, these statues,  as well as Roman homes, clothing, and art were immersed in color. This exhibition examines colors in the ancient Roman world, how these colors were produced, where they were found, what the Romans thought about them, and how we study them today. We hope that visitors will think about what different colors mean to them and how these meanings compare to the roles of colors in the Roman Mediterranean world.

Curators: Catherine Person and Caroline Roberts

Graffiti as Devotion along the Nile

Graffito of the Ram of Amun in the El Kurru funerary temple. Photo: Suzanne Davis

August 23, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Ancient graffiti provide a unique glimpse into the lives of individuals in antiquity. Religious devotion in ancient Kush (a region located in modern-day northern Sudan), involved pilgrimage and leaving informal marks on temples, pyramids, and other monumental structures. These graffiti are found in temples throughout the later (“Meroitic”) period of Kush, when it bordered Roman Egypt. They represent one of the few direct traces of the devotional practices of private people in Kush and hint at individuals’ thoughts, values, and daily lives. This exhibition explores the times and places in which Kushite graffiti were inscribed through photos, text, and interactive media presentations. At the heart of the show are the hundreds of Meroitic graffiti recently discovered in a rock-cut temple by the Kelsey expedition to El Kurru in northern Sudan.

Curators: Geoff Emberling and Suzanne Davis