With his excavations in the late 1960s at Tepe Farukhabad in southwestern Iran, Museum curator Henry Wright provided important insights on economic interactions in the emergence of the world’s earliest state societies. The site was a small center on the Deh Luran Plain, located on the margins of several environmental zones and on the northeast fringes of the Mesopotamian Plain. Wright’s research focused on the changing role of the settlement in the production and exchange of stone tools and raw materials, bitumen, and domestic animal products from the late fifth to early third millennia BC. This bone seal dates to Middle Uruk levels, a time of economic intensification and expanding long-distance trade. The squatting human or animal was carved from a piece of mammal bone. On the right of this photo is a recent impression made to show the crosshatch motif incised into the back of the seal. In use, the seal would have been similarly impressed into soft clay to seal packages or storerooms. This seal is currently on display in the U-M Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
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.