THE FRANCIS W. KELSEY MUSEUM OF ARCHAEOLOGY
THE archaeological collections at the University of Michigan owe their origin and development to Francis W. Kelsey, Professor of the Latin Language and Literature at the University from 1889 to the time of his death in 1927. During his long and distinguished service to the cultural life of the University, Professor Kelsey was both zealous and discriminating in the acquisition of archaeological material to illustrate the life and times of the ancient Mediterranean World. No separate museum was organized to care for these collections, but they were administered by Professor Kelsey and his very competent assistant and colleague in the Latin Department, Dr. Orma Fitch Butler.
It was not until the autumn of 1928 that definite steps were taken to organize a museum for the care, exhibit, and study of the archaeological collections, which, by this time, had increased markedly, due mainly to the acquisition of objects from the field excavations in Egypt, organized by Professor Kelsey in 1924. Thus a Museum of Classical Archaeology was established as a unit in the group of the University Museums. John G. Winter, Professor in the Department of Latin and Greek, served as Director of the Museum from the time of its inception until his retirement in February, 1951. Dr. Orma Fitch Butler was Curator until the time of her death in 1938.
In the autumn of 1940 the Museum became a separate administrative research unit of the University under the name Museum of Art and Archaeology. In 1946 it became the Museum of Archaeology, on the establishment of a Museum of Art as a separate unit in the University. Early in 1953 the present name, Francis W. Kelsey Museum of Page 1456Archaeology, was adopted by the Board of Regents in honor of its distinguished founder.
Prior to 1924 collections now in the Museum were acquired by purchase and by gift. The first of the purchases by the University was of a collection of 109 objects, including lamps, vases, and building materials, from the Musée Lavigerie in Carthage in 1893. They were duplicate specimens of antiquities gathered from various excavations in and around Carthage, over a period of some forty years, by R. P. Delattre, of the Order of the White Fathers. At the time, Professor Kelsey was on leave of absence from the University, studying numerous archaeological sites in the Mediterranean world. A warm and lasting friendship sprang up between the American scholar and the priest of the Hill of Byrsa. As a lasting reminder of the kindness shown him, Professor Kelsey assigned accession number one in the Museum records at the University to a fragment of an ancient Roman lamp included in the purchased collection. It was the discovery of this lamp that had induced Father Delattre in the early years of his life in North Africa to undertake the careful excavations of Roman sites at ancient Carthage.
On this same trip Professor Kelsey obtained from dealers, mainly in Rome, Sicily, Capri, and Tunis, 1,096 other archaeological specimens, building materials, pottery, terracotta figurines, lamps, painted stucco, glass, tombstones from Pompeii, and one Latin inscription. Thus began the collections at the University of Michigan of original archaeological specimens from Mediterranean lands. Previously, only casts or photographic representations of ancient objects had been available for use as illustrative material in teaching in the departments of Latin and Greek.
The next acquisition of antiquities occurred in 1898 through the services of Professor C. L. Meader of the University, who was then a Fellow in Christian Archaeology at the American School of Classical Studies in Rome. This was a miscellaneous collection of 387 objects, mainly lamps, lamp handles, pottery, and some glass.
In the following year Professor Duane Reed Stuart, who was a student in the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, purchased for the University a collection of thirty-four lamps. They were specimens of types that originated in various parts of the Greek world and had been collected by Professor Rhoussopoulos of the University of Athens.
The end of the century marked the successful conclusion of negotiations that had been carried on for some time for the purchase of a part of the famed Canon de Criscio collection of antiquities. The remainder was acquired later. The history of this collection is described hereinafter by Dr. Orma Fitch Butler.
In 1900-1901 Professor Kelsey was on leave of absence from the University of Michigan to serve as annual professor at the American School of Classical Studies in Rome. He availed himself of this opportunity to arrange for the purchase of various groups of antiquities. They were valuable additions to the collections in the fields of Roman archaeology, architecture, economics, religion, and history. Among them were 463 brick stamps and ninety specimens of makers' stamps on Arretine pottery. Also included were thirty-three ex-votos that had been found near an ancient temple of healing at Veii in Etruria.
With wise foresight Professor Kelsey procured for the University at this time also an outstanding collection of ancient building materials that had been gathered together from ancient Roman and Greek sites. Numerous small, but important, antiquities were obtained, among them a bronze Lar from an Page 1457ancient house shrine, a mason's plumb bob, lead water pipes, most of them bearing stamped inscriptions, lamps, and decorative terracottas.
In the years before World War I, some additions were made to the Museum collections. As the War brought an end to study and research abroad as well as to the importation of antiquities from Mediterranean countries, Kelsey gave increased consideration to the possibilities of actual field work of excavation after the war at some ancient site in the Near East. The factor that caused special attention to be focused on such a project at this time was the study of papyri documents of Greco-Roman Egypt, which had come to the University some years earlier from the Egypt Exploration Society of London and Oxford.
Thus the two aims that Professor Kelsey had in view when he was granted leave of absence from the University from 1919 to 1921 were to purchase objects for the collections and to investigate the possibilities of excavations at Greco-Roman sites. He visited the countries bordering the eastern Mediterranean from Italy to Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine, and then went south and west throughout North Africa, with special attention to Greco-Roman sites in Egypt.
During this period the Museum collections were enriched by several purchases and gifts. Fragments of Arretine ware and Rhine Valley pottery and some Roman glass were purchased from the Cologne Museum. Among the acquisitions were ancient lamps from Palestine and alabaster bowls, head rests, toilet articles, beads, and fine linen from the Egypt Exploration Society Excavations. Through the kind services of Mr. G. F. Allmendinger of Ann Arbor, funds were procured from the Michigan Millers' Association for the purchase of a fine Roman mill, a large storage jar, and several small objects of bronze which had been found in the excavations of a villa a short distance to the north of Pompeii. The Paul Gottschalk collection of 130 vases, mainly from ancient Greek sites in Italy, was also purchased at this time.
The year 1924 marked the establishment at the University of the Near East Research Fund, which was the culmination of years of planning and preparation on the part of Kelsey (see hereinafter the Institute of Archaeological Research). The fund, created by private gifts, made it possible to acquire antiquities both by purchase and by excavations in the field at Roman and Greco-Roman sites.
In 1919 Professor Kelsey had noted on his visit to the Province of Fayoum, Upper Egypt, that the ancient city sites, from which so much valuable papyrological evidence had come to the world of scholarship, were being rapidly and ruthlessly destroyed, with little or no care taken to recover the antiquities or to record archaeological data. These ancient hills had become the source of excellent fertilizer (sebbakh), so necessary for the expanding acreage of cotton in Egypt. This situation caused Kelsey upon his return to Ann Arbor in 1921 to redouble his efforts to obtain funds for the systematic excavation of a Roman site in Egypt. The account of the excavations in the Near East is appended.
During this visit to Egypt Kelsey arranged for the purchase of a large collection of antiquities, mainly of the Greco-Roman period, that had been gathered together by Dr. David L. Askren, a long-time resident of Medinet el Fayoum. Especially noteworthy in this group were the ancient glass and ostraca. The collection included also wood, bronze, pottery, lamps, and terracotta figurines, in all 549 pieces.
Since the establishment of the Museum in 1928, acquisitions have continued to be made by purchase and by Page 1458gift, as well as by excavations. Several groups of ostraca were purchased during the years when field work was being carried on in Egypt. In addition an important collection of seventeen ostraca from Egypt was presented to the University by F. C. Skeat of the British Museum, London.
During the 1920's the Museum received several valuable gifts from H.C. Hoskier, of New York, Honorary Curator of the Museum. In the group were small bronzes and amulets from Egypt, a collection of 119 ancient Roman and Ptolemaic Egyptian coins, all in excellent condition, and several pieces of Greek, Etruscan, and Cypriote pottery.
The antiquities from the sites excavated in Egypt, Karanis, Dimé, and Terenouthis constitute the major part of the collections in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. The Egyptian government has been extremely generous with the University in the division of antiquities. The ancient written documents recovered from the excavations, the papyri and the ostraca, were granted export to the University for study and publication. The ostraca have been studied and published and returned to the Department of Antiquities in Cairo. As the studies on the papyri are completed they too will be returned to Egypt.
The antiquities from the excavations represent and illustrate every phase of life and living in a Roman town in Egypt. They range from the tiniest bead and amulet, used for personal adornment or as charms, to the large earthenware jars used for the storage of grain and fodder and the heavy stone milling pots and olive presses. Each group of objects is a study in itself, the glass, pottery, wood used in building and in making household articles of furniture or tools and implements, terracotta figurines and lamps, sculpture and household objects of stone, such as mortars and pestles, basketry, objects of bronze, bone, and faïence, textiles, harness and rope, jewelry, grains and seeds, toys, gaming pieces, coins that were lost or stored away for safekeeping, and scores of miscellaneous objects that were common in every household in those days. From Terenouthis the Museum has an unusual collection of grave stelae of the pre-Christian period, which are particularly important since they can be dated by the coins found with them.
The architecture and the topography of the sites have been recorded in the survey maps. From these and the photographs it is possible to reconstruct accurately the physical appearances of the cities throughout their various levels of occupation.
The coins in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology number into the many thousands. By far the greater proportion has come from the University's excavations in Egypt and Iraq, but previous to the opening of the field work in the Near East, the numismatic collections at the University were already large and important. The acquisitions in this field date back to 1880. They have been classified by the names of their donors or of those who established the collections.
The earliest collection was that of Abraham S. Richards, to be followed in the succeeding years up to 1919 by the Dorr, Fritchie, Dattari, Harsha, and Eastman collections. One of the largest, the Dattari Collection of Roman imperial coins of Egypt, Late Roman imperial coins, and coins of Alexander of Macedon, was acquired through the kind offices of Mr. Charles L. Freer. It was presented to the University by Mr. Giannino Dattari, a friend of Mr. Freer, in 1914.
The numismatics section of the Museum contains not only valuable Greek Page 1459and Roman coins from various parts of the ancient world, but also medieval and modern coins of Europe and coins and currency of the United States. By the purchase of the Lockwood Collection a large group of United States coins and many specimens from various European countries and the Orient were acquired. The gift of the Hoskier Collection, referred to earlier, was an especially important acquisition. The Kelsey Collection, acquired by purchase and by gift, consists mainly of Greek, Roman, and Late Roman types. A gold nugget, used as an early coin of the Philippines, was presented by Santiago Artiaga, an alumnus of the University.
In the spring of 1952 Dr. Robert W. Gillman of Detroit presented a collection of Palestinian antiquities that had been gathered together by his father, when he was American consul in Jerusalem (1886-91). Besides Egyptian scarabs and beads, the group contains Palestinian, Greek, Roman, and Crusader coins. It is a notable addition to the Museum, since it includes many early and rare Jewish and Crusader coins.
Mrs. Edward Dwight Pomeroy of Jacksonville, Florida, presented a large collection of European and American coins and currency. Recent gifts by Mr. and Mrs. Abd el Lateef Ahmed Aly, Dr. Bessie B. Kanouse, Mr. Harvey L. Sherwood, and the Reverend Mr. Kilford, have served to fill in gaps in the Museum collections.
In addition to the coins the Museum has in its care a number of medals. They were struck as commemorative of special occasions and presented to the University.
In the autumn of 1943 the University received a remarkable historical collection of European and American arms, together with a few Oriental pieces. The gift, known as the Arthur G. Cummer Memorial Collection of Arms, was presented by Mrs. Cummer. Both Mr. and Mrs. Cummer had been students at the University of Michigan. The collection is especially rich in short arms, such as dueling pistols in pairs. Since that time several individual gifts of arms have been made by Clayton G. Bredt, Jr., Lou R. Crandall, Miss Helen H. Hanley, Mrs. Fred Harris, Howard Ideson, J. G. Roberts, Alexander G. Ruthven, and Miss Eunice Wead. At the close of World War II, in 1949, several hundred captive enemy guns were received from U. S. government arsenals. Special exhibits of the arms have been made from time to time, and the entire collection is available to interested groups, especially for study connected with the military contingent at the University.
Of special interest in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology are the textiles, chiefly Roman, Coptic, and Islamic from Egypt. The specimens of weaving, linen and woolen cloth and carpets from the excavations at Karanis, are of particular importance, in the matter of dating and design. Throughout the years purchases have been made to supplement the collections of Coptic and Islamic textiles. Noteworthy among these was the purchase in 1939 from the estate of H. A. Elsberg of a number of Coptic and Egypto-Arab textiles. A few examples of European textiles were presented to the Museum at that time by the Elsberg estate. Other gifts to the Museum were two embroidered caps of the Coptic period by A. E. R. Boak, several Peruvian textiles by Miss Helen Ladd, an excellent example of Swedish linen by Miss Ruby Holmstrom, and a specimen of oriental embroidery by Miss Isabelle Stearns. In 1953 a purchase of 1,166 textiles from Egypt of the late Roman, Coptic, and early Islamic periods greatly enlarged the collections.
In the field of classical antiquities Page 1460few additions have been made since the time of the early acquisitions by Professor Kelsey, but in the late 1930's the University received a gift of particular importance, the Esther Boise Van Deman bequest. This gift consisted of 216 objects, collected by Miss Van Deman ('91) during the many years when she was associated with the American School of Classical Studies in Rome. The objects are not large in size, but they were chosen by Miss Van Deman with discriminating care and thought as to their archaeological value.
Among the other contributions that have come to the Museum are pottery and photographs from the estate of Mrs. M. L. D'Ooge, Greek pottery on exchange from the National Museum in Athens, pottery, bronzes, lamps, and building materials from Mrs. Grace G. Beagle, Oliver P. H. Kaut, Robert Y. Larned, Mrs. Charles W. Lobdell, Eugene S. McCartney, Miss Carrie Patengill, Jean Paul Slusser, and Mrs. Stuart Baits. Recently, the Museum received a group of potsherds of Roman and Tudor Britain from A. F. Norman, Sir Edward Whitley, and University College, Hull, England.
The large and valuable group of prints and negatives, made by George R. Swain for the Near East expedition, has been incorporated into the Museum records and files. Photographs and slides of classical and archaeological interest have been presented by William W. Bishop, the estate of Mrs. M. L. D'Ooge, James E. Dunlap, E. C. Overbeck, and W. H. Worrell.
The Coptic collections were enlarged in 1953 by twelve wooden seals presented by Dr. Aziz S. Atiya. In that year Dr. O. O. Fisher presented the twenty-three volumes of the first edition of the publication resulting from the work of the scholars who accompanied Napoleon on his expedition to Egypt.
Miscellaneous gifts to the Museum include a group of a hundred terracotta figurines from Egypt by Peter Ruthven, Roman glass, a dice box, a hand mill of granite from Egypt, and an excellently preserved spearhead of bronze from China, by A. E. R. Boak, a number of Greek and Coptic papyri by Dr. Moldenke of Detroit, a papyrus fragment from Mrs. Standish Backus, and Palestinian pottery and lamps by W. H. Worrell.
Purchases have been made of gnostic gems and amulets, chiefly from Egypt, pottery, sculpture in stone and wood of pre-Dynastic and Dynastic Egypt, stelae and textiles of the late Roman and Coptic periods, and textiles of Islamic Egypt. A small bronze statuette, said to have come from a tomb near the Kermanshah Pass in northwestern Persia, was also acquired by purchase.
In 1945 the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature at the University turned over to the Museum a collection of Babylonian clay tablets and seals. A recent gift to the Museum was an ikon of St. Demetrius, presented by Mrs. James Inglis. It is signed by the artist, Joannes Charalampos, and dated March 27, 1757. It is an excellent example of late Byzantine style.
Apart from antiquities the Museum has been the recipient of other gifts and transfers of property. Two bookcases, originally the property of the first President of the University, Dr. Henry Tappan, are now part of the Museum equipment. They had been presented to the University by Regent Junius E. Beal in 1927. They were part of the furnishings in the Regents' Room in Angell Hall until the time of the transfer of offices to the Administration Building in 1949. Two exhibit cases, formerly in the President's House on the campus, along with candelabra and wall brackets that had once been the property of Dr. Page 1461Tappan, were transferred to the Museum in 1951.
The Museum is continuing to build up a small reference library for the studies and research that are carried on within the Museum. Many books and periodicals from the library of Professor Kelsey were presented to the Museum by his heirs. The bequest of Orma Fitch Butler, the first Curator of the Museum, added some nine hundred volumes of particular value. Other donors who have made presentations of books and periodicals include Randolph G. Adams, Abd el Lateef Ahmed Aly, Zaky Aly, Floyd Ames, Santiago Artiaga, A. E. R. Boak, Campbell Bonner, Clayton R. Bredt, Jr., Mrs. R. Bishop Canfield, W. W. Gower, Miss Dorothy Markham, Miss Kathleen O'Doughlin, Frank E. Robbins, Alexander G. Ruthven, Peter Ruthven, Mrs. W. R. Taylor, John G. Winter, the General Library, the Michigan Historical Collections, the Museum of Anthropology, the Egyptian Embassy, the French Embassy, and the Commissioner for Archaeology in the Sudan.
The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology presents exhibits of the collections, conducts research, and prepares the results for publication. The antiquities from the excavations in the Near East form the main basis for the exhibits. They are arranged and documented with labels to present a logical account and sequence of various phases of life and living in the ancient past. Special consideration is given in the exhibits to the general needs of students. The storerooms and workrooms of the Museum are available for research by advanced students and scholars. Special exhibits are arranged from time to time for groups studying certain limited phases of ancient life.
The vast amount of original material in the Museum precludes the necessity of arranging loan exhibits, unless they happen to be intimately associated with research work. Such a loan exhibit was arranged during 1952-53 of the Fisher papyrus of the Book of the Dead, a document of fundamental importance in the study of ancient Egyptian life. At times the Museum has arranged and sent loan exhibits to other museums and schools.
The Museum building, Newberry Hall, is one of the oldest on the campus. The interior has undergone extensive changes and rehabilitation in order to adapt it to the needs of a museum. It is crowded and not fireproof, but care and caution have been taken, as far as possible, to safeguard the collections.
Although the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is designated as a research unit, members of the staff have given both undergraduate and graduate instruction. The collections in the Museum are at all times available to graduate students, several of whom have availed themselves of the opportunity to use this original source material as bases for doctoral dissertations.
The main publications of the Museum have been in the Humanistic Series of the University. This series is described elsewhere in this Part (see University Press). Volumes XXXIV, XLII-XLIV, and XLVII in this series, by various authors, are devoted to papyri and ostraca from Karanis and Dimé. Volumes XXV, XXX, and XXXIX contain the reports of the excavations at Karanis and Dimé. Volume XXXI deals with Ancient Textiles from Egypt in the University of Michigan Collections, by Lillian M. Wilson. Roman Glass from Karanis Found by the University of Michigan Archaeological Expedition in Egypt, 1924-29 by D. B. Harden is Volume XLI, Parthian Pottery from Seleucia on the Tigris by Neilson C. Debevoise is Volume XXXII. StampedPage 1462and Inscribed Objects from Seleucia on the Tigris and Coins from Seleucia on the Tigris by Robert H. McDowell were published as Volumes XXXVI and XXXVII. Figurines from Seleucia on the Tigris by Wilhelmina van Ingen is Volume XLV. The gnostic gems in the Museum collections have been described by Campbell Bonner and have been published in articles in various journals and in Volume XLIX of the Humanistic Series, titled Studies in Magical Amulets, Chiefly Graeco-Egyptian.
Special archaeological reports on Tel Umar, Iraq, the site of Seleucia, and on Sepphoris in Palestine by Leroy Waterman have been published in the University of Michigan Studies. From time to time articles dealing with parts of the collections have been published by scholars in archaeological and philological journals.
The staff of the Museum consists of a director, two curators, a technician, and a secretary. Student assistants are engaged on a part-time basis. The staff of the Museum in 1954 consisted of E. E. Peterson, Director; Louise A. Shier, Curator; and Elinor M. Husselman, Curator.
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.
Africa and Asia Minor. — In the spring of 1924 the University of Michigan began its first field work in the Near East. For many years the University had been slowly, but definitely, augmenting its valuable archaeological collections illustrative of ancient history. Of first importance among them were the papyri from Greco-Roman Egypt, acquired mainly by Francis W. Kelsey. The study of the papyri and the other archaeological material at the University led to the conclusion that further field work was necessary to illustrate and supplement the knowledge already gained. A very generous grant of funds by Horace H. Rackham in 1923 furnished the means for this undertaking.
Plans were laid to conduct reconnaissance operations in three countries, in three widely separated areas which were once part of the Roman Empire, namely, Asia Minor, Egypt, and Tunisia in North Africa. It was the plan of the Committee on Near East Research in charge of the work at the University to conduct trial excavations for one season and then, from the results obtained, to determine the most profitable field in which to continue investigations. Data gathered from excavations on the sites of Pisidian Antioch in Asia Minor, of Carthage in Page 1465North Africa, and of Karanis in the Province of Fayoum, Upper Egypt, were compared and evaluated. The result was that, after the first year, the committee decided to devote its resources to the work of excavation in Egypt.
The results of the first season's efforts in Egypt were of the utmost importance. Not only were many valuable papyri recovered from the excavations, but also other archaeological material, which could be assigned to a definite date and place and would therefore be of inestimable value for the study of life and society in Greco-Roman times. Another factor which influenced the decision of the committee was the very favorable and helpful attitude towards the excavations on the part of the Egyptian government and its efficient Department of Antiquities.
Antioch. — For his field operations in Asia Minor, Professor Kelsey chose as director Professor David M. Robinson, of the Johns Hopkins University. Acting upon the advice of the eminent Anatolian scholar, Sir William Ramsay, who had spent many years in research in the Near East, representations were made to the Turkish government for permission to excavate a site, called Sizma, near Konia. Pending completion of arrangements necessary for the organization of the work at Sizma, the University accepted the invitation of Sir William to assist him in the excavation of Pisidian Antioch, near Yalivadj, in Sparta Vilayet, for which he held a permit from the Turkish government. From May through August of 1924 the University conducted excavations on the site of Antioch and simultaneously in July and August completed trial explorations at Sizma.
These excavations were concerned mainly with the site of Roman Antioch which served as a military base of operations for the war conducted by the consul, Quirinius, later governor of Syria, against the Homanadenses; here too, the Apostle Paul had first preached to the Gentiles.
There had perhaps been an earlier Phrygian sanctuary on the site, dating probably from the early third century before the Christian Era. We know that as early as 189 b.c., however, Antioch was made a free city by the Romans. Though under Roman sovereignty, it retained its Greek characteristics even up to the time of its last king, Amyntas, who was killed in the wars against the brigands in the Taurus Mountains in 25 b.c. At that time the entire Province of Galatia came more closely under the personal supervision of Augustus, and it is just this period in the history of Antioch, under the Early Empire, that was the chosen field of investigation by the University. The site of the earlier Greek city has not been definitely determined.
Sir William and Lady Ramsay had visited and explored the site several times prior to the spring of 1924. As early as 1914 they had made a most remarkable discovery in the eastern portion of the hill of some sixty fragments in marble of a Latin inscription. The fragments proved to be parts of a copy of the famous inscription, set up in bronze in Rome, in front of the mausoleum of Augustus, and called Res Gestae Divi Augusti. The inscription in Rome has been lost, but its contents are known from a copy set up in Ancyra, the modern Angora, and therefore called the Monumentum Ancyranum. In like manner Antioch set up a copy of this inscription, to commemorate the deeds of the Emperor Augustus among the subject peoples in this eastern outpost of Roman civilization.
As a further contribution to this memorable document, the University recovered some two hundred additional fragments in the course of the excavations in 1924. Hitherto, according to Ramsay, no Page 1466fragments of the Preface or of the first seven chapters had been found at Antioch. With the discoveries made by the University, we now have fragments, not only of the Preface and of every chapter, but also of the four appendices, which serve to fill lacunae in the Monumentum Ancyranum.
Ever since the first fragments of this inscription were found at Antioch, there had been considerable conjecture as to its exact position in ancient times. Some scholars held the view that at Antioch, as at Angora, the inscription must have been cut on the walls of a public building. A complete clearance of the area in which these fragments were found revealed that in all probability the inscription had been carved on four pedestals, the faces of which were three meters in front of the Propylaea. The expedition had discovered the Propylaea, situated at the top of a broad, stone stairway, which led up from a stone-paved area, the Tiberia Platea, to a temple erected against the eastern hill.
This stairway consisted of about a dozen steps some twenty-two or twenty-three meters across. Enormous masses of sculptural and architectural fragments of the Propylaea were found lying in confusion on the steps. Here were found architrave blocks, cornices, spandrels and voussoirs of the three arches, slabs of sculpture in relief, drums of engaged Corinthian columns, and enormous, magnificently carved capitals. The bases on which once stood the pedestals bearing the Res Gestae and which indicated the locations of the piers of the arches were also uncovered. They had doubtless fallen because of successive earthquake shocks or were deliberately demolished by later inhabitants of that region, desirous both of destroying the monuments of an earlier regime and of procuring stone for their own building operations. A portion of the architrave was found containing the holes into which the bronze letters of an inscription had originally been fitted. It is quite possible that the name of Augustus was mentioned on this block signifying the dedication of the Propylaea to him. Though the site had been badly stripped of stone by the inhabitants of the modern village of Yalivadj, yet so many fragments of the Propylaea were found that it is possible to make an accurate reconstruction of this triumphal archway, here dedicated to a deified emperor.
Of the temple itself, whose podium had been cut from the living rock of the hill, not one stone was found in situ. A very accurate reconstruction of it can be made, however, based on evidence gathered from the architectural blocks that were found, some scattered about the temple area proper and others built into the walls of the houses of the nearby modern village. Some few meters behind the temple the natural rock of the hill had been cut to the height of several meters to form a nearly semicircular wall enclosing the east end of the temple area. In front of this wall was a two-story colonnade, Ionic above and Doric below. Shops had doubtless been located along the base of this wall.
In front of the Propylaea, to the west, was uncovered a large area paved with stone. From a long Latin inscription found here, it was learned that this was the Tiberia Platea, that is, the Square of Tiberius. Another inscription furnished the information that the square between the Propylaea and the temple was called Platea Augusta.
In the pavement in the center of the Square of Tiberius was a large, circular slab of stone. Bronze letters had once been fitted into the matrices of this stone and, from the holes left, Robinson was able to reconstruct the inscription. It recorded the fact that "T. Paebius Asiaticus, son of Titus, of the tribe Sergia, Page 1467an aedile for the third time, paved this square at his own expense."
To the west of the paved area were found the ruins of a building which was probably a Byzantine church. Nearby was recovered a marble head of Augustus, a cast of which is now in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University. No traces could be found of the remainder of the figure.
In the northwestern section of the city a Christian basilica was discovered. The floor of the nave was paved with a colored mosaic, containing four inscriptions, two of which mention Bishop Optimus, who became Bishop of Antioch about 375-81.
At the very close of the season a large monumental gateway was uncovered in the southwestern part of the site. Behind it had been a fountain, decorated with dolphins. The gateway, almost fifty meters wide, consisted of a large central arch, flanked by a smaller arch on either side. It rose to a height of twelve or thirteen meters. The enormous blocks used in the construction of the gateway lay strewn around in great confusion, due, no doubt, to earthquakes. Several of the architrave blocks which were recovered had been inscribed with bronze letters fitted into matrices. A dozen of these letters were found, several of them in situ, which mentioned a certain C. Iulius Asper (inscribed as C.IVL.ASP). In like manner there was found the name of a certain Pansinianus, known from other inscriptions found in the city by Ramsay.
Antioch had received its water supply from springs in the hills situated several miles to the north of the city. Many of the massive arches, supporting the stone watercourse, still exist. Practically the entire length of this aqueduct was explored.
In addition to the numerous building blocks of stone, many of them beautifully carved with figures in relief, numerous fragments of statues were found. Noteworthy among these was a draped statue of Victory, perhaps a copy of an earlier fifth-century Greek original. Coins, fragments of glass goblets, fragments of small stone altars, and other objects of interest were also uncovered in the course of the excavations.
Sizma. — It was necessary in July to curtail the work at Antioch in order to devote some time to the investigations at Sizma. Numerous trial trenches were dug, but no ancient buildings were discovered. Heaps of slag, ashes, and refuse from the smelting of cinnabar in ancient times, led Robinson to conclude that there may have been a settlement of miners here and that their houses had been built of adobe and consequently had not survived. In the debris were found many potsherds and some thirty vases of red, black, and brown hand-molded ware. It was Robinson's opinion that these dated about 2500 b.c. Numerous bone astragali, querns, pestles, and broken lamps were also recovered. Near the surface was found an inscription which contained a reference to the Zizimmene Mother, a title under which the goddess Cybele was here worshipped, but no traces were found of a sanctuary dedicated to this divinity. Numerous inscriptions of a late Roman date came to light in the surrounding territory.
Besides the persons mentioned above as associated with the actual excavations in Asia Minor, the staff included the following: Francis W. Kelsey, George R. Swain, Frederick J. Woodbridge, Horace Colby, Easton T. Kelsey, Feizy Bey, and Enoch E. Peterson.
Carthage. — In the spring of 1925 the Washington Archaeological Society decided to conduct an investigation on the site of ancient Carthage in North Africa. Acting upon the recommendation of Professor Francis W. Kelsey, who had acceded Page 1468to the request of the society to serve as General Director in the field, arrangements were made to conduct a thorough preliminary reconnaissance of the site. The aim was to ascertain both the prevailing working conditions and, from the archaeological evidence recovered, to determine whether or not it would be advisable to invest large sums of money for a complete clearance of the site, or parts of it.
In addition to support from the Near East research fund of the University of Michigan, the society received special contributions from the University of Rochester and from Mr. William F. Kenny, of New York. During the three months, March, April, and May, of 1925, there were associated with Professor Kelsey in the field work the following staff, some of them serving as assistants in special investigations for short periods and others connected with the general work during the entire campaign: the Abbé J.-B. Chabot, Orma F. Butler, Nita Butler, the Reverend Père A. Delattre, and Messrs. Ralph M. Calder, William Douglas, George F. French, Donald B. Harden, William E. Hayes, Horton O'Neill, Enoch E. Peterson, Byron Khun de Prorok, Gerard Rey de Vilette, Edward R. Stoever, George R. Swain, Robert R. Swain, Columbus C. Wells, Frederick J. Woodbridge, and Henry S. Washington.
Owing to the fact that practically the entire terrain which marks the site of ancient Carthage had been parceled out into building lots, and that much of it had already been occupied, any attempt to excavate the entire site was found to be prohibitive in expense, unless the government should see fit to expropriate the land as a national archaeological park. For this reason no extensive general excavation could be carried out, and detailed investigations were limited to a small area which had been purchased some years earlier by Byron Khun de Prorok. This was later enlarged by the purchase of land by the Washington Society, making altogether an irregular plot of ground, some sixty-three meters long, varying in width from fifteen to twenty-eight meters, which was the site of an ancient burial ground, consecrated to the goddess Tanit.
As early as 1921 this section, near the ancient harbor, had come under the surveillance of government officials in Tunis. From time to time in Tunis there had appeared limestone stelae with Punic inscriptions and symbols associated with the cult of Tanit. This finally came to the attention of certain public officials interested in antiquities. They investigated the matter and succeeded in definitely tracing them to their place of origin. The property was purchased and trial excavations were conducted with funds furnished by the Service des Antiquités.
It was in this plot of ground that extensive excavations were carried out during the season of 1925. Investigations were conducted in a restricted but typical area in this section to the very lowest stratum resting on the limestone bedrock. Unmistakable evidences were found of three distinct levels of archaeological remains. No ruins of an actual temple or shrine, dedicated to the goddess Tanit, were found in any level. Dedicatory stelae, set in the earth like tombstones of a cemetery, and cinerary urns with their contents were almost the only antiquities recovered in this area.
In the lowest stratum stelae were not found, but thirty-one cinerary urns were recovered, dating from the seventh and eighth centuries b.c. The urns were found spaced about a meter apart, each one carefully protected by a cairn of small stones, piled around and on top of it. A layer of black earth covered the cairns to an average depth of fifty centimeters. On top of this there was, in turn, a layer of yellow clay seven centimeters Page 1469in thickness. Above this was the second archaeological level, which averaged in depth from one and one-half meters to two meters. In the second level no cairns were found, only urns and stelae. The urns were arranged in groups and above each group a dedicatory stone had been erected. The third or top level consisted of urns only. They were placed in the earth, which had accumulated among the stelae of the second level to a depth of about a meter. To judge from fragments of pottery and Hellenistic lamps found in the filling, these deposits belonged to the period just preceding 146 b.c. The stelae were of various types; some had Punic inscriptions, others bore symbols sacred to Tanit.
More than eleven hundred urns were recovered in the excavations in 1925. A preliminary examination was made of the contents of a few of them. They contained charred bones of young children, lambs, goats, and small birds. With the bones in the urns of the lowest level were also found rings, bracelets, earrings, beads, amulets, and objects of gold, silver, bronze, and iron.
Along the northern edge of the area a Roman vault of a later period was uncovered. It had been built over earlier stelae, which were left undisturbed in their original position in the floor of the vault. Near the southern edge were found the ruins, perhaps of a temple, of the Roman period. The site has not been fully cleared, and owing to peculiar local conditions the matter must be left to governmental agencies.
Karanis. — In the autumn of 1924 the University of Michigan undertook field operations in Egypt which continued, without interruption, until August, 1935. During that time J. L. Starkey of London, England, served as Director for the first two seasons and was then succeeded by E. E. Peterson of the University. Associated as members of the staff in the field work at Karanis and Dimé, for varying periods during the eleven years of activities, were the following: Professor A. E. R. Boak and Messrs. L. Amundsen, D. C. Caskie, J. A. Chubb, H. Falconer, S. Golovko, R. Haatvedt, D. B. Harden, A. G. K. Hayter, F. B. Joslin, E. T. Kelsey, E. D. Line, G. Loud, O. W. Qualley, C. C. Roberts, P. Ruthven, V. B. Schuman, E. Swain, I. Terentieff, and S. Yeivin.
At the beginning of operations the Egyptian government granted to the University concessions to excavate two sites in the Province of Fayoum — Karanis, now known as Kôm Aushim, fifty-nine kilometers southwest of the Great Pyramid, and Soknopaiou Nesos, now called Dimé, some forty kilometers west of Karanis.
Karanis had been badly destroyed by the natives before the University began its systematic and scientific excavation of the site. Enough remained, however, buried beneath the sands of the desert, to enable the gathering of ample and accurate topographical evidence for the preparation of detailed maps of the city, both of the various buildings, public and private, including two temples, and of the general plan of the city in all the levels of occupation, throughout its six or seven hundred years of existence from the third century b.c. to the early fifth century a.d. Simultaneously, with the gathering of topographical evidence, exact knowledge was also acquired of the numerous objects found in the excavations. Now, for the first time in the history of archaeological research in Greco-Roman Egypt, it has become possible to identify and date the objects, apart from papyri, ostraca, and coins, that definitely belong to this period in ancient history. Hundreds of antiquities, scattered throughout the museums of the world, either undated or assigned to a very long, indefinite period, can now be classified Page 1470correctly, both as to time and place, by comparison with the objects recovered by the University of Michigan excavations in Egypt.
The entire site of Karanis has been completely and thoroughly surveyed. Triangulation and topographical charts have been prepared, which cover territory even beyond the confines of the city at its greatest extent. All architectural evidence uncovered has been noted on the proper maps at the proper levels. No reconstructions have been made that could not be substantiated beyond the question of a doubt by evidence found in the actual excavations.
In addition to the triangulation chart, topographical maps, and one general map of the excavated areas in the eastern section (scale, 1:1000), 133 other maps, illustrating all levels and sections, have been prepared. Throughout the years of field work, some seventy thousand levels alone were computed in the survey of Karanis, together with other measurements, totaling into the hundreds of thousands. In addition, hundreds of photographs have been taken, showing architectural and topographical details to supplement and illustrate the data recorded on the maps and plans.
Of major importance among the objects recovered in the excavations at Karanis were the papyri. Letters, business documents, and literary fragments became all the more valuable as historical source material by very reason of their discovery at definite locations and levels.
The coins of Karanis are very numerous, more than twenty thousand having been recovered from one house alone. The ostraca are extremely valuable for the close dating of levels and are important source material for the study of the economic life of Karanis.
One of the most perplexing problems that has hitherto confronted archaeologists has been the proper classification of glass from Egypt. Now it is possible to assign correct dates and provenance to the various types known to have come from Egypt. The same problem applies to pottery to an even greater degree, for it was found in greater abundance and was common over a longer period of time than the glass. One of the most important contributions which the University of Michigan excavations in Egypt have given to the history of this period is the accurate information on the use of wood, both in building and in the making of smaller objects of daily household use.
Dimé. — The site of Dimé, much smaller than that of Karanis, was thoroughly surveyed before excavations began. Although the site was in a very inaccessible part of the desert it had been badly ravaged by the diggers for fertilizer. Topographical and triangulation charts were prepared for the entire site. Two sections of the hill were chosen for special, detailed investigation, in which excavations were carried out down to bedrock, in certain places through as many as four levels of occupation. Seventeen maps on a large scale were prepared for the special sections under excavation.
The papyri and ostraca were among the most important objects recovered at Dimé. Especially noteworthy among these were some papyri with seals intact. A considerable number of the ostraca were Demotic. No complete specimens of glass and remarkably few fragments were found. Very little basketry and few wooden objects were recovered.
The excavations at Dimé showed that the city must have continued in existence from about the middle of the third century b.c. to the early third century a.d. Undoubtedly the collapse of the irrigation system and the decline in importance of the crocodile cult in Fayoum account for the early abandonment of this site.
Page 1471Terenouthis. — In 1935 the Egyptian government granted a concession to the University to excavate Terenouthis, now known as Kôm Abou Billou. It lay on the edge of the western desert accessible from the Nile Valley only by a camel and donkey trail, some ten miles southwest of the modern village of Kafr Dawud. Its utter destruction at the hands of modern treasure hunters and diggers for fertilizer precluded any lengthy campaigns on that site. In fact, there is no Greco-Roman site in Egypt that has not been almost completely ruined by the peasants of modern Egypt. The soil covering these ancient ruins furnishes excellent fertilizer for the cotton crops, and for that very reason the Egyptian government has allowed these mounds to be ruthlessly destroyed.
The main part of the work at Kôm Abou Billou was devoted to a clearance of a cemetery, which was very late Roman and early Coptic. An important and large group of limestone grave stelae was found. Beads, amulets, and jewelry, along with pottery, lamps, terracotta figurines, and some glass, were the principal objects recovered in the excavations. Some coins were found which are of especial value in dating the stelae and pottery. Hitherto it has been impossible to date the stelae and pottery found in this part of Egypt.
The results of the University of Michigan excavations in Egypt are of outstanding importance. Not only have they laid bare the plan of a town, to the very minutest detail in house construction and decoration, but they have also peopled these houses and temples, these streets and passageways, by revealing the very objects used long ago in daily life. We have seen the letters these people wrote to one another, the accounts they kept in business transactions, the kinds of food they ate, the grain they planted in their irrigated plots of land, the cloth they wove to make their garments, the wooden boxes in which they stored their treasures, the glass that must have been highly cherished, the pottery that served as common household ware, the toys that delighted the hearts of their children, the lamps that gave such feeble light and so much smoke, staining black the niches in their housewalls, and the paintings, all of some religious significance, with which they sometimes adorned their houses. We have seen the very temples in which they worshipped, now in ruins, mute reminders of a cult that even then was in decay. The people who wrote and read the papyri, which have become so valuable as source material for the history of this period, are revealed to us as a living people in a living town.
Seleucia on the Tigris. — Field work was begun at Seleucia on the Tigris, in Iraq, under the directorship of Professor Leroy Waterman in November, 1928, after a season of preliminary exploration. The expedition was sponsored jointly by the Toledo Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the University of Michigan. Robert H. McDowell served as Field Director.
Seleucia was founded by Seleucus Nicator, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. After Alexander died at Babylon in 323 b.c., Seleucus secured for himself the Middle East from the Mediterranean to India. He located his new city near an ancient trading center. It became the capital of the Seleucid empire, and was one of the centers of Greek civilization in the third century b.c.
In 141 b.c. the Parthians under Mithradates conquered the city. They were probably of Iranian stock from somewhere north of Persia. The Parthians made Seleucia their western capital. Prosperity came to Seleucia through trade and commerce. Sea-going ships came up Page 1472the river direct from India, Africa, and Arabia. On land, caravan routes from the East converged on Seleucia from Central Asia, China, India, and Persia, and continued west to ports on the Mediterranean coast.
Four levels of occupation were found in the excavations, dating approximately from 290 b.c. to 200 a.d. Seleucia is now a group of mounds covering some five square miles, about twenty miles south of the modern city of Baghdad. The average height of the mounds is twenty-five feet above the present level of the plain. The Tigris has changed its bed since ancient times, and the river is now several miles away from the ruins.
Owing to the vast extent of the mounds the work of the first two seasons was to a large extent exploratory. Systematic excavation was carried on, however, at a point nearest to the Tigris and resulted in the uncovering of a Parthian villa in Level I (115/20 a.d. to approximately 200 a.d.) and a date wine and molasses factory in Level II (about 69/70 a.d. to 115/20 a.d.). Aerial photographs of the ruins were also secured during the first two seasons through the British Royal Air Force. The gridiron pattern of streets of the Hellenistic city was visible on the photographs, particularly over the central parts of the site.
One of the city blocks (technically known as Block B) was selected for excavation. It was near the center of the mound and was approximately 450 feet long and 250 feet wide. Excavation showed that the entire block consisted of a single great house. During seasons 1930 to 1932, work, for the most part, was concentrated on Block B and resulted in the clearing of the first three levels.
After the 1931-32 season the financial effects of the depression were felt, and the field work of the expedition was discontinued. Work toward publication of the results of the excavations, however, was energetically carried on at the University of Michigan.
In 1936-37 another expedition was sent into the field under the directorship of Professor Clark Hopkins with Robert H. McDowell again serving as Field Director. During this season work was continued on Block B, and some houses of the fourth or Hellenistic level (about 290 to 143 b.c.) were cleared. A topographical survey was conducted with the help of new air maps, and a general plan of the site and the location of some of the more important buildings was established. Excavation of two of the most important temple areas was begun.
As a result of the excavations the University of Michigan has an outstanding collection of Parthian and Seleucid coins, architectural plaster, terracotta figurines, pottery, and other objects of everyday use. What is more important, knowledge of the Hellenistic and Parthian periods in Mesopotamia has been greatly extended.
Results of the excavations have been published in two preliminary reports and in four volumes in the Humanistic Series of the University of Michigan.
Among the members of the excavation staff at Seleucia at one time or another were the following: William C. Bellingham, Robert J. Braidwood, Neilson C. Debevoise, Henry Detwiler, Harry G. Dorman, Jr., Clarence S. Fisher, Clark Hopkins, Franklin P. Johnson, Robert H. McDowell, Mrs. McDowell, N. E. Manasseh, Frederick R. Matson, Jr., A. M. Mintier, Richard M. Robinson, A. Saarasalo, Charles Spicer, Jr., Leroy Waterman, Mrs. Leroy Waterman, and Samuel Yeivin.
Sepphoris, Palestine. — In the au tumn of 1930, funds having been given by a friend of the University, Harry B. Earhart, for excavation in Palestine, Professor Leroy Waterman, already in Page 1473the Near East, visited Palestine and secured the concession to excavate at the modern Arab village of Saffuriyye (ancient Sepphoris), situated four miles northwest of Nazareth, and the capital of Galilee in the days of Jesus. The area of the site most available for excavation consisted of the grounds of the village school, and work could accordingly only be carried on during the long summer recess of the school. As a result, work was begun in the summer of 1931 and was continued during the months of July and August with a staff of five men, including Dr. Clarence S. Fisher of the American Schools of Jerusalem, N. E. Manasseh and Samuel Yeivin of the Seleucia staff, together with Fadeel Sabba, a Palestinian, as photographer.
The chief architectural results consisted of the discovery and partial excavation of a very well-built Greco-Roman theater on the northeast slope of the citadel hill, capable of seating from four to five thousand persons, and of the ruins of an early Christian church which was a part of a larger monastic building. Pottery, coins, and small household objects of daily use were recovered, some of which are in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
The two months' work on the site was only a beginning. It was hoped to make Sepphoris an alternate-season site with Seleucia, but the depression prevented its realization. The main results of the work done at Sepphoris are described in The Preliminary Report of the University of Michigan Expedition at Sepphoris, Palestine, in 1931.
The De Criscio Collection
The University of Michigan owes its good fortune in acquiring the valuable De Criscio collection of Roman antiquities to the loyalty and vision of one of its alumni, the late Walter Dennison ('93, Ph.D. '98), who was the first man from the University of Michigan to hold a fellowship in the American School of Classical Studies in Rome. Dennison served his alma mater as Instructor of Latin from 1897 to 1899 and as Junior Professor of Latin from 1902 to 1910. Those who knew him well remember the accurate scholarship and the gentle spirit which informed all his teaching.
When Dennison was in Europe in 1896-97 collecting material for his work on Latin inscriptions he searched in all available places for unpublished material. Finally he learned of a private collection at the home of the Abate Giuseppe de Criscio of Pozzuoli, Italy. Father de Criscio, to give him his English title, was a member of a noble Roman family. In his youth he had been given a broadly liberal education, with the result that he brought to his work as a parish priest a wide acquaintance with and a deep interest in history, archaeology, and numismatics. Instead of losing interest in these pursuits as he became absorbed in his parish work, he kept up his studies and published many articles dealing with many phases of these subjects.
This devotion was aroused in part by the natural conditions which obtained in the parish over which he presided. The little town of Pozzuoli, founded by the Greeks in the sixth century b.c., was taken over by the Romans during the Punic wars. Later it became an important seaport and commercial center, particularly for the trade with Egypt. Lying as it does in the center of the great volcanic area north of Naples, it has often been showered with volcanic ash. Changes in level, caused by variations in subterranean pressure, have also taken place. As a result of all this, it is impossible to open the soil in Pozzuoli without unearthing the remains of earlier civilizations. The parishioners knew their priest's fondness for antiquities and notified him Page 1474immediately when such discoveries were made. He soon became the possessor of a large collection and maintained what might be called a small museum in his own home.
When Dennison learned of the existence of this collection he asked Father de Criscio for permission to look over the inscriptions which formed a large part of the material. This the kindly priest gladly granted, took the young American into his own home during his stay in Pozzuoli, and gave him permission to publish those inscriptions which had not already appeared in the Corpus or the Ephemeris Ephigraphica. During Dennison's stay Father de Criscio confided to him his regret that on his death his collection must of necessity be scattered since none of his family was interested in it. Dennison at once realized the great opportunity this offered the University of Michigan and wrote to Professor Kelsey to the end that, if possible, steps might be taken to secure this material.
Although times were still hard as the result of the depression of 1893, Kelsey began working on the problem with his usual vigor. In order to assure himself that the material was valuable, he asked William W. Bishop, who was then a Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Rome, to copy all of the inscriptions in the collection. When these copies reached the United States it at once became evident that the inscriptions contained a wealth of material on the provincial cursus honorum and on the imperial fleet of Misenum across the harbor. An effort was made to find some friend of scholarship who would come to the aid of the University and make the purchase possible. Henry P. Glover, of Ypsilanti, who had done much for his community, provided the necessary funds, but added the proviso that his name was not to be associated with the gift.
As a result of Mr. Glover's generosity there came to the University in 1899 some two hundred and fifty inscriptions on marble, several ash urns, some inscribed lead water pipes, and a few pieces of glass and bronze. The last were a personal gift to Mr. Dennison from Father de Criscio, but, with the generosity which characterized him, Dennison insisted on turning these over to the University also, to enrich its collections.
All of the objects arrived in good condition. This was due in great measure to the kindness of the museum authorities at Naples, who not only allowed some very valuable pieces to be sent abroad but also sent an experienced person to oversee the packing. In a letter to Dennison, Kelsey wrote, "I am surprised that the Government allowed the exportation of certain of the blocks, but the successful outcome of this aspect of the negotiations must be credited to Professor Mau."
In 1905, nine more inscriptions and several inscribed tiles, an incense altar, four tegulae suspensurae, for supporting the hollow floors of baths, a limestone wellhead, and a marble bath basin, were obtained from Father de Criscio.
Six years later the good father passed away, in the eighty-sixth year of his life. After some years his widowed sister, who had been his housekeeper, wrote to Mr. Dennison, unaware that he too had died in 1917, a victim of pneumonia, and offered to sell the residue of her brother's collection to the University. This letter was sent on to Professor Kelsey, who at once took up with President Burton the problem of securing the necessary funds. When this was done, the purchase was completed and the shipment of the material to Michigan was looked after by Professor John G. Winter, who was on leave in Italy in 1923.
In this third lot, the University secured some six hundred objects, among Page 1475them seven inscriptions, several pieces of marble relief-work, many fine specimens of blackware, several large storage jars, and many small objects. This material is of great value, as it shows the nature of the objects in daily use by the people of a small provincial town, and the University is fortunate in having been able to acquire it. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, which has custody of the collection, will keep alive the memory of the good priest who collected these objects, as well as the memory of others whose devotion and generosity brought the De Criscio collection to the University.
Papyri were first acquired by the University of Michigan in 1920 through the initiative of Francis W. Kelsey, who traveled to Egypt in the spring of that year with B. P. Grenfell of Oxford (England) to purchase papyri with joint funds supplied by the British Museum, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Michigan. In the following year, E. A. Wallis Budge, Keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum, at the request of Professor Kelsey, bought another lot of papyri for the contributing institutions, among which were now included the universities of Oslo and Geneva and Cornell University. From this time until his death in 1927 Kelsey was untiring in his efforts to augment the Michigan collection, and since his death funds, donated by interested alumni or appropriated for the purpose by the Board of Regents, have been used to acquire additional papyri as they have become available. Moreover, the many papyri which were discovered at Kôm Aushim and Dimé in the Fayoum in the course of excavations conducted by the University of Michigan in Egypt from 1924 to 1935 were loaned by the Egyptian government to the University for study and publication.
The collection now comprises 4,832 inventory numbers, and 2,090 additional numbers have been assigned for reference purposes to the papyri from Kôm Aushim and Dimé. In the early years each piece was given a separate number, but subsequently the rapid growth of the collection made it advisable to form groups of the less significant fragments, and only complete pieces and the more important fragments received separate numbers. The total includes a certain number of waxed tablets, of which several are remarkably well preserved.
Greek is the language of the large majority of the texts, but other languages are represented in varying proportions — Demotic, 150; Coptic, 500; Arabic, 150; and Latin, 50. Approximately 500 papyri have literary texts, and these include classical authors, with Homer predominating, Biblical and patristic authors, and fragments from works of magical, mathematical, astrological, astronomical, and medical content (see Part IV: Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures). The rest of the papyri bear official documents, petitions, legal instruments, accounts, lists, memoranda, receipts, and private letters. They range in date from the third century b.c. to the eighth century a.d.
The collection is housed in the General Library of the University but is under the care of a curator of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. Many papyri have been mounted between sheets of glass so that they may be studied without risk of injury; most of them, however, are kept within folders and are preserved from exposure in steel cases. Frequently, with the permission of the librarian, papyri have been exhibited for interested visitors and members of learned societies.
The Humanistic Series of the University of Michigan Studies at present includes Page 1476eleven volumes containing editions of papyri. Numerous other texts have been published in periodicals. Among the more interesting and important groups are the following: more than one hundred papyri from the well-known Zenon archive of the third century b.c.; about two hundred documents of the first century a.d. from the ruins of the record office of the ancient village of Tebtunis; thirty well-preserved leaves of a third-century codex of the Epistles of Paul; thirty-one leaves of a third-century codex of the Shepherd of Hermas; two tax rolls of unusual length, which were compiled at the ancient Karanis in the second century a.d.; a number of Greek and Coptic magical texts; a poorly preserved but valuable Coptic codex containing Ecclesiastes and the Gospel of John in the Fayoumic dialect; a remarkably fine group of Coptic private letters, and a small group of large and for the most part well-preserved Byzantine documents in Greek and Coptic from Aphrodito.