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2018–2019 Jackier Prize Display Case

Over the past 30 years, Eleanor and Lawrence (class of ’64) Jackier have followed their passion for the artifacts of the ethnically diverse populations of ancient Israel/Palestine. With interests that span a period of 2,500 years, from the Bronze Age to late antiquity, the Jackiers have focused on items large and small, made from ceramic, metal, and glass, which together exemplify almost every aspect of life in the ancient world — commerce, war, beauty, politics, agriculture, domestic life, death, and religion.

In 2014 the Jackiers shared their personal collection with students in Professor Yaron Eliav’s undergraduate course, The Land of Israel/Palestine through the Ages, offered by the Department of Middle East Studies. This collaboration resulted in a very successful essay competition at the end of the Winter 2014 semester. With the success of the competition, the Jackiers agreed to endow the Jackier Prize Competition in perpetuity for all interested undergraduates at the University of Michigan to reward excellence in archaeological research.

This year, seven students entered the competition, each writing essays about an object or group of objects from the Kelsey Museum Collections and the University of Michigan Papyrology Collections. The top four essays were chosen for the current exhibition.

Objects on Display

Bone hairpin. Roman period, 1st century CE or later. Italy. Dennison Collection. KM 21682.

Bone Hairpin

"In their most practical sense, these tools were designed to create tension within braids, curls, and buns in order to keep them in place. However, bodkins also represented the difficult balance between the cultivation of modesty and cultus (Latin, “external appearance, adornment”) and the universal need for self-expression."

— Alexandra Wormley

Petition to a strategos. Roman period, 98 CE. Karanis, Egypt. University of Michigan Papyrology Collection, P. Mich. Inv. 5549.


"Petesouchos’s brothers are not removed from Roman administrative culture; rather, they are a reflection of it. The petition that Petsiris and Pnepheros wrote to their local strategos (governor) exemplifies Karanis’s view of Rome’s role in disaster: to intervene."

— Jacqueline Cope

Obverse and reverse of a hematite uterine amulet. Roman period, 100–500 CE. Egypt. Nahman Collection. KM 26056.


“Through these amulets we are able to see both the conflicting ideas of a woman’s body at the time as well as the slight steps toward autonomy women took. By using these amulets women were taking agency over their health in a very tangible and direct way.”

— Noa Eaton

Glass oil lamp. Roman period, 1st–4th century CE. Fayum region, Egypt. Askren Collection. KM 5086.

Glass Lamp

“The glass lamps found at Karanis both illustrate the extent of the Roman trade network in Egypt and provide indirect evidence for how people may have practiced their religion privately in a multicultural society. In addition, the lamps were possibly used as the citizens of Karanis faced increased sandstorms to light the now buried floors of their houses.” 

— Ciara Nolan