Since the 1960s, much of curator Henry Wright’s research has focused on documenting and understanding the processes that led to origin of the state in different regions of the world. One region where he has focused his research is Madagascar, where Wright and his colleagues have conducted systematic archaeological research since the early 1980s. Through surveys and excavations, they have documented the sequence of human occupation of the island from early settlement to the emergence of the first state in the Central Highlands in the 17th century AD. During this time, the Merina ruler Andrianampoinimerina was able to successfully unify and expand his territory, incorporate competing polities, and create an expansive territorial state. The Museum holds a small type collection from Wright’s research. The object shown here is an 18th-century gunflint used in flintlock weapons, an example of the new military technologies adopted by Imerina’s rulers.
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.