Stone beads. Lapis lazuli and carnelian. Late 4th to middle 3rd millennium BC. Tepe Farukhabad, southwestern Iran. Near Eastern Archaeology, UMMA Expedition. Left to right: UMMAA x044, 60109, 60140.

Tepe Farukhabad was a small town located on the fringes of Mesopotamia in southwestern Iran during the fourth and third millennia BC. Despite its isolation, Curator Henry Wright’s archaeological research at the site has demonstrated that, despite the town’s isolation, its residents had multiple connections with the larger world within and beyond Mesopotamia. The three semi-precious stone beads shown here provide evidence for such connections. The two blue beads are lapis lazuli—a stone that originates in Badakshan Province of Afghanistan and was highly valued in both Mesopotamia and Egypt. The orange stone is carnelian, a variety of agate that occurs more widely in northern and central Iran, South Asia, and the Persian Gulf. Both of these must have been imported to Tepe Farukhabad. In the future, chemical sourcing techniques may allow us to identify the precise source of this carnelian bead and explore the networks through which it arrived at the site. In this way, something as small as a bead shows how vital the Museum’s collections are as we address new research questions.

Back to Day 93 or continue to Day 95.

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.