This brown glazed stoneware vessel dates to Cambodia’s Khmer civilization. It was made to hold lime, which was used in the consumption of betel. (To prepare betel, a fresh leaf (Piper betie) is wrapped around areca nuts, lime powder, and other ingredients. This is chewed for its stimulant effect.) G. Mennen (“Soapy”) Williams, governor of Michigan (1948–1960), and his wife Nancy collected the pot in Bangkok. Williams served as U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines in 1968, and he acquired several hundred Chinese and Southeast Asian vessels from Southeast Asian antique shops. This lime pot lacks archaeological provenience, but it relates to an important family in Michigan history. The complete specimens in the Williams collection provide useful comparisons to the more fragmentary sherds in the Museum’s excavated collections from the region.
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.