Ceramic figurines were produced in enormous numbers during the Teotihuacan period and are among the most common artifacts found in excavations of both domestic and non-domestic contexts. Early Teotihuacan figurines were handmade, but later figurines were mass-produced in specialized workshops using molds. Then-student Jeffrey R. Parsons (now a curator emeritus at UMMAA) collected the figurine heads shown here in 1961, when he was a participant in the Teotihuacan Valley Project, directed by William Sanders of Pennsylvania State University. Building on that early experience, Parsons subsequently conducted systematic survey projects throughout the Valley of Mexico as well as in Peru and Argentina. In doing so, he led the way in developing fieldwork methodologies that have transformed our knowledge of ancient Latin America.
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.