As Spanish mariners and colonialists expanded and conquered territories in the New and Old World beginning in the late 15th and early 16th centuries AD, they took with them ceramics and other European artifacts for provisions on their boats and in colonial settlements. This jar is an example of one common Spanish vessel form found in Spanish colonial sites around the world: the “olive jar.” Manufactured in southern Spain, these wheel-made vessels were all-purpose shipping containers that could hold a range of foodstuffs, including olives, oil, wine, and honey. Although it originated in Spain, this vessel was excavated from a grave on the island of Siquijor in the southern Philippines. Once its use as a transport and storage vessel was completed, it began a second life as a valued artifact and burial offering, before entering its current status as an archaeological object in a research collection.
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.