The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
The Institute of Archaeological Research

Although scholars from the University of Michigan even before World War I had participated in various archaeological researches in the classical lands, the real beginning of Near East research came in the years immediately following the war, when Francis W. Kelsey, Professor of the Latin Language and Literature, secured leave of absence and, with the aid of funds contributed by friends of the University, proceeded in 1919-20 and in the succeeding years to visit Europe for the purpose of making purchases for the University of Michigan collections. Among the results of his activities was the acquisition of such valuable materials as the Baroness Burdett-Coutts' Biblical manuscripts, which were bought at the auction in London, the Oriental manuscripts from the library of the former Sultan Abdul Hamid, and the beginnings of the remarkable group of Greek papyri from Egypt which have been assembled in the University of Michigan Library (see Part VIII: Papyri). The first papyrus purchase was made in the spring of 1921. In the next year, a further important purchase of papyri was made, consisting of 139 legal documents, most of which were presented to the University by its alumnus, John Wendell Anderson ('90l), of Detroit, in the name of the law class of 1890. Numerous later additions have made the Michigan collections one of the largest and most valuable in the world.

Shortly after Commencement time in 1923, the late Horace H. Rackham, of Detroit, made his first gift for research in the humanities (see Part I: Gifts). It amounted to $100,000, payable over two years, and at Mr. Rackham's request the donor's name was not announced at the time. The first expedition which was made possible by Mr. Rackham's donation set out in the spring of 1924 (see Part VIII: Archaeological Excavations). Transportation was furnished in the form of a Dodge sedan presented by Mr. and Mrs. Howard B. Bloomer, of Detroit, and a Graham truck presented by the firm of Graham Brothers. Professor Kelsey was appointed Director of the Research Staff, with George R. Swain, of Ann Arbor, as Associate Director in Charge of Transportation and Photography. Professors Arthur E. R. Boak, of Michigan, Thomas Callander, of Queen's University, David M. Robinson, of Johns Hopkins University, and H. G. Evelyn White, of Leeds University, were chosen Page  1463to take charge of field work. Enoch E. Peterson and Orlando W. Qualley, two advanced students in the classical departments, were included as fellows of the expedition. The remainder of the staff consisted of Hussein S. Feizy, of the University of Michigan, interpreter and surveyor, and Professor Kelsey's son, Easton T. Kelsey, who went as chauffeur. Unfortunately, Professor White's untimely death that summer prevented his actually taking part in the work.

The expedition divided into two sections, one of which began work at Karanis in Egypt, and the other at the site of Antioch in Pisidia, the modern Yalovatch. Professor Robinson was in charge of the latter site, and Sir William Ramsay, to whom the original permit for excavation had been issued by the Turkish government, was also present. Numerous interesting finds were made on this site, including a large early Christian basilica. Another important find was a considerable portion of the famous inscription recording the deeds of Emperor Augustus, copies of which were placed in various cities of the empire. Professor Boak was in charge of the first work at Karanis, which went on for more than ten years and was terminated in the spring of 1935. Without producing any finds of a sensational nature, the excavations in Egypt for the first time completely laid open for scientific study a city of Greco-Roman times. Kelsey himself, besides visiting both sites of excavation, directed a photographic study of Caesar's European battlefields and initiated other archaeological studies in Europe which were carried on by various fellows, including Miss Anita Butler and Miss Mary Pearl.

At the time when Mr. Rackham's first gift for research in the Near East became available, Kelsey turned to his colleagues for counsel. An informal committee which came to be called the Advisory Committee on Near East Research was assembled and held a number of meetings with Professor Kelsey and made decisions with regard to the general policies to be followed. The committee, when first formed in January, 1924, consisted of President Marion LeRoy Burton, Deans John R. Effinger and Alfred H. Lloyd, Professors A. E. R. Boak, Campbell Bonner, J. G. Winter, and H. A. Sanders, Dr. F. E. Robbins, and Librarian W. W. Bishop.

In 1925 a small expedition was sent to the site of ancient Carthage in North Africa and some excavating was done, but for various reasons it was thought inexpedient to proceed with further work there. The excavations at Karanis, however, as noted above, were continued from year to year, from 1926 under the direction of Enoch Ernest Peterson.

The death of Professor Kelsey in the spring of 1927 was a great shock to all his friends, but the impetus which his energy had given to Near Eastern studies did not abate. In the circumstances it was necessary that the advisory committee take over the general direction of activities, and under the new name of the Committee on Near East Research it was given specific authority by the Board of Regents to do so. In the spring of 1931 a further step was taken by organizing the Institute of Archaeological Research of the University of Michigan, the personnel of which was identical with that of the former committee, with the addition from time to time of certain other members and with the replacements which were made necessary by the deaths of President Burton, Dean Effinger, and Dean Lloyd. Professor Benjamin D. Meritt was a member of the Near East committee and of the Institute during his stay at the University, and was succeeded by Professor Clark Hopkins. In addition, Professors Leroy Waterman and William H. Worrell, of the Department Page  1464of Oriental Languages and Literatures, together with Dr. Carl E. Guthe, Director of University Museums, were added.

In 1929-30 great assistance was given to the research work of the Institute by an appropriation of $250,000, spread over a period of five years, from the General Education Board. This was intended rather for work carried out in Ann Arbor than for field excavations. The most tangible result of this activity was in the line of publication. No less than sixteen volumes were added to the Humanistic Series published by the University (see Part VIII: University Press), ranging from the publications of the results of excavation at Karanis, various volumes of papyri and ostraca, and Meritt's work in Athenian epigraphy to books on Egyptian textiles and Parthian pottery.

In the meantime, the Institute of Archaeological Research had undertaken the sponsorship of the excavations independently begun by Leroy Waterman at Tel Umar in Iraq. Waterman's researches and reasoning led him to identify the ancient Seleucia on the Tigris as a site which had been from almost immemorial antiquity an important center of trade and population. His first excavations began in December, 1927, on behalf of the American School of Oriental Research in Baghdad, with funds which were supplied by the Toledo Museum of Art. In the next year the University of Michigan and the Toledo Museum of Art shared the sponsorship of the work, the University furnishing the field direction, and this continued through the third season, that of 1929-30. In 1930-31 financial support was received from both the Toledo Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art. The latter institution provided the funds for the season of 1931-32. Work then lapsed because of the economic depression at home, but in 1936-37 another expedition was sent out under the direction of Professor Clark Hopkins.

These various campaigns resulted in the uncovering of a large block of dwelling houses and, in the final season, in the discovery of two temple sites. It is generally acknowledged by Oriental scholars and archaeologists that the site is an exceedingly promising one, but it has not proved possible for the University to plan for its thorough investigation.