Within the UMMAA’s collections are several hundred prehistoric stone tools from Egypt. These came to the museum through the efforts of Enoch E. Peterson, an archaeologist known primarily for his work at Karanis, a Graeco-Roman town in the Fayoum Basin in Egypt’s western desert. Peterson directed the U-M’s early 20th century excavation at Karanis, and materials from that site comprise the core of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology’s impressive archaeological collections. Peterson also made collections at nearby prehistoric sites, and those materials came to the anthropology museum.
The flint points pictured here are part of the collection donated by Peterson. They date to the Fayoum Neolithic period (c. 5200-4000 BC) and were made by Egypt’s earliest farmers. Neolithic communities lived in the basin along the shores of a large lake, growing cereals and herding domestic animals. Lake levels have receded over the centuries, and the remains of these settlements now exist as linear scatters of artifacts along the ancient shorelines.
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.