The Neolithic site of Ali Kosh in southwestern Iran was the focus of revolutionary research on plant and animal domestication and early Near Eastern villages by UMMAA curator Kent Flannery and colleagues Frank Hole and James Neely in the early 1960s. Dating from about 7500 to 5500 BC, Neolithic Ali Kosh was a small village of farmers and herders. The location of the village was important: it was outside the native distribution of the wild progenitors of early domesticates. This revealed to researchers that the early farmers of Ali Kosh were manipulating the species and/or the environment in order to farm in new regions. Residents of the village produced thousands of small flint blades for use in a variety of hafted tools. The artifacts shown here are cores: the blocks from which multiple blades were systematically removed. They were collected from the surface of the site in 1969 by then-graduate student (and later Museum curator) John Speth during his doctoral fieldwork.
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.