Tiwanaku was a large urban center in the basin of Lake Titicaca in western Bolivia. It reached its maximal extent and regional influence between AD 500 and 1000. The production and long-distance exchange of specialized craft goods, including ceramics, were important to Tiwanaku’s wealth and status. Domesticated camelids—llamas and alpacas—were important for meat, wool, and transport and were commonly depicted on ceramics. This endearing early Tiwanaku slipped and painted red ware camelid effigy vessel came to the Museum in 1959 from a donor named Carlos Ponce Sangines, who acquired it from a farmer, who retrieved it from a “subterranean grave” at Tiwanaku.
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.