In 1918, a small collection of prehistoric stone artifacts from Scandinavia was donated to the U-M Museum of Zoology. They now reside in UMMAA’s European Archaeology collections. We know little about the individual who donated these Mesolithic (8000–4000 BC) and Neolithic axes (4000–2000 BC), but s/he did inscribe the collection location in pencil onto the objects themselves, providing some provenience information. Semi-sedentary Mesolithic foragers and later Neolithic farmers required these tools for forest clearing and other activities. Flaked stone axes, such as in the left and center of this image, were characteristic of Mesolithic technology, while the polished stone axe on the right is an elegant example of a Neolithic axe. Along with being utilitarian and trade objects, Neolithic axes also had ritual significance and are sometimes found in burials and in hoards deposited in bodies of water.
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.