In its early decades, in addition to conducting new fieldwork in North America and Southeast Asia, the UMMAA sought archaeological materials from other institutions to build comparative collections for teaching and research. In 1923, a year after UMMAA was created, the British Museum sold U-M a small collection of ceramic and glass fragments. These pieces were from British excavations at the 9th-century city of Samarra in northern Iraq. From AD 836 to 892, Samarra was the wealthy and cosmopolitan capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. The collection includes elegant ceramics from the Middle East and China as well as delicate glass vessels. These iridescent glass fragments are the weathered remains of an elegant long-necked blue bottle.
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.