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The Museum of Anthropological Archaeology’s Ceramic Repository is an unparalleled collection of ceramics from archaeological sites across eastern North America. Rob Beck, associate curator of North American archaeology at the Museum, talks here about the repository and his efforts to digitize and expand it.

Instead of focusing solely on the Paleolithic--as was the case a generation ago--archaeologists at the University of Michigan have expanded their work in European prehistory to include later eras, says John O’Shea, curator of Great Lakes archaeology at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. This brings valuable perspectives to the issues of social development and identity.  

Brian Stewart, assistant curator of paleolithic archaeology at the Museum, excavates high-altitude rock shelter sites in southern Africa, where materials can date to the very early stages of human evolution. He notes that the University of Michigan has a long tradition of hiring archaeologists at the forefront of this field, including Bill Farrand, considered the godfather of geoarchaeology.

For decades, the University of Michigan has been central to the development of comparative evolutionary theory. Raven Garvey, assistant curator of circumpolar archaeology at the Museum, gives a brief history of the luminaries in this field, from Leslie White and Jimmy Griffin to many others.

Carla Sinopoli, curator of Asian archaeology at the UMMAA, talks here about the Museum’s first collection. In the early 1920s, Carl Guthe, director of the Museum, excavated about 500 sites in the Philippines. He was a very good archaeologist, Sinopoli notes, and recorded the provenience data of thousands of objects before shipping them back to the U.S., ensuring that the collection would remain useful nearly a century later.