Winnowing basket made of plant material and cow dung. Mid 20th century. Gisaka (Eastern Province), Rwanda. Ethnology Division, Gravel Collection. UMMAA 25145.

Anthropologist Pierre Gravel, who conducted ethnographic research in the village of Remera in the Gisaka (Eastern Province) region of eastern Rwanda the early 1960s, collected this basket. Remera’s residents, who belonged to Hutsi and Hutu ethnic groups, grew a variety of crops and raised goats and cattle. Much of Gravel’s research focused on the importance of cattle as markers of wealth, social relations, and social standing. This plain-weave shallow basket is rimmed with cow dung. The form is of a winnowing basket, used for processing grains. However, traditional winnowing baskets were usually larger than this basket, which is about 20 inches in diameter.

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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.