The aptly named ornithologist and U-M alumnus Dr. Leonard Wing donated this conical twined twig fish trap to the Museum in 1970. He collected it in 1948 from the Teslin Tlingit tribe, near Johnson’s Crossing at the Teslin River, in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Unfortunately, he did not record the name of the maker. Bait is placed inside the trap, which uses a passive method of trapping. The conical form funnels fish into the interior and at the same time prevents their escape. In 1786, French naval officer Jean François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse, observed the Tlingit using similar conical fish traps in the Huagin River, near Lituya Bay, in what is now southeast Alaska. He described the traps as “narrow wicker baskets, closed at one end, into which [fish] enter, and being unable to turn in them, they are thus caught.”
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.