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UMMAA Brown Bag and Lecture Series videos are accessible here, or via the left sidebar.


We invite you to watch the videos below featuring the work of our curators, or click here to access the full playlist on YouTube:

On October 5, 2018, John O'Shea, curator of Great Lakes archaeology at the Museum, gave a Tedx Talk at the Presque Isle District Library in Rogers City, Michigan, as part of the first Tedx event in northeast Michigan. 

O’Shea talked about his work in Lake Huron, where he and his team have explored the underwater remains of caribou hunting sites about 9,000 years old. At that time, the region was above water, on a strip of land connecting Michigan to southern Ontario. This work is the basis for the 2015 book he co-edited with Elizabeth Sonnenburg and Ashley K. Lemke, titled Caribou
Hunting in the Upper Great Lakes: Archaeological, Ethnographic, and
Paleoenvironmental Perspectives

The Museum of Anthropological Archaeology’s Ceramic Repository is an unparalleled collection of ceramics from archaeological sites across eastern North America. Rob Beck, associate curator of North American archaeology at the Museum, talks here about the repository and his efforts to digitize and expand it.

The Museum spent more than a year cleaning and rehousing hundreds of textiles. More than 400 textiles had to be cleaned, photographed, tagged, and rolled up for storage. Central to the success of the project was a group of dedicated volunteers, who showed up at the Research Museums Center every Friday for more than 15 months. Bradley Cross, Mollie Fletcher, Georgia Gleason, Sandy Krecic, Cindy Little, Kit Parks, Lisa Powell, Sherri Smith, Fran Wright, and Chiachen Wu all donated many hours of their time.    

To celebrate the project's completion and thank the volunteers, Museum collection managers Lauren Fuka and Jim Moss hosted a lunch on June 28, 2019. Lauren created this video, showing highlights of the project and many of the beautiful textiles.   

Thanks go out to each and every one of the volunteers for spending their time and energy to help care for the Museum’s collections.

Instead of focusing solely on the Paleolithic--as was the case a generation ago--archaeologists at the University of Michigan have expanded their work in European prehistory to include later eras, says John O’Shea, curator of Great Lakes archaeology at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. This brings valuable perspectives to the issues of social development and identity.  

Brian Stewart, assistant curator of paleolithic archaeology at the Museum, excavates high-altitude rock shelter sites in southern Africa, where materials can date to the very early stages of human evolution. He notes that the University of Michigan has a long tradition of hiring archaeologists at the forefront of this field, including Bill Farrand, considered the godfather of geoarchaeology.






For decades, the University of Michigan has been central to the development of comparative evolutionary theory. Raven Garvey, assistant curator of circumpolar archaeology at the Museum, gives a brief history of the luminaries in this field, from Leslie White and Jimmy Griffin to many others.

Carla Sinopoli, curator emerita of Asian archaeology at the UMMAA, talks here about the Museum’s first collection. In the early 1920s, Carl Guthe, director of the Museum, excavated about 500 sites in the Philippines. He was a very good archaeologist, Sinopoli notes, and recorded the provenience data of thousands of objects before shipping them back to the U.S., ensuring that the collection would remain useful nearly a century later.

In this video of a January 2020 event on the U-M campus, Howard Tsai interviews Jeffrey R. Parsons, curator emeritus at the Museum, about his new book, Remembering Archaeological Fieldwork in Mexico and Peru, 1961-2003: A Photographic Essay, published by the UMMAA in October 2019. 

The hardcover book contains more than 500 black and white photographs taken by  Parsons during decades of archaeological fieldwork in Mexico and Peru.

The hundreds of photographs, accompanied by descriptions, illustrate the sites, the people, and the landscapes that Parsons encountered during four decades of research in these regions.

Parsons has also published many archaeological monographs as well as ethnographic research on salt, fish, and other items used for traditional subsistence in Mexico.