The first stop of Joseph Beal Steere’s 1871–1875 U-M collecting expedition was Brazil’s Amazon Basin. There he visited Marajó Island, located at the mouth of the Amazon. Steere was the first of many travelers in the late 19th century who dug into ancient earthen mound sites to recover the distinctive Marajoara polychrome ceramics. The three fragments shown here are part of Steere’s Brazilian collection. Called adornos by scholars, these small figures were appliqued ornaments that would have been attached to the rims of ceramic vessels.
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.