In his 1970–71 archaeological survey on the Susiana Plain of southwestern Iran, University of Michigan archaeology graduate student Gregory Johnson documented changing settlement patterns and economy during the period of state emergence in the region. Over seven months, Johnson documented and conducted systematic surface collections at 67 sites. The sites dated from the fifth-millennium BC Susiana period through the succeeding fourth-millennium BC Uruk phase of state formation. The decorated sherds shown here were collected at KS-22, a small village site located about 7 km north of the emerging city of Susa. Representing a range of bowl and jar forms, these serving and storage vessels date to the pre-state Susiania and Susa A periods. Painted ceramics were no longer made in the succeeding Uruk period, when mass-produced plain ware vessels came to dominate ceramic assemblages. When Johnson conducted his research, the Iranian government allotted portions of collections from foreign projects to collaborating institutions, enabling research on these important materials to continue.
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.