When it comes to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology’s collections, not all artifacts are created equal. Some call out to us intellectually, others emotionally. With this in mind, we asked our curators to name their favorite Kelsey Museum artifacts and why each was a favorite. This is the first in a series of seven.
BY SHARON HERBERT, Museum Director and Curator of Greek and Hellenistic Collections, University of Michigan
Favorite Artifact. Alabastron, clay, Protocorinthian (ca. 700–650 BC), National Museum of Athens, exchange 1933. KM 10925
Why. “The still-visible incision marks and the center impression of the compass point used to make the scales connects me to the artist who made them more than 2,662 years ago. In my imagination, I can almost see the artist carefully centering the compass point into the clay.”
About Artifact. This small oil bottle originally was decorated with a colorful pattern of small red, yellow, and black scales. The ancient paint has disappeared and all that remains of the artist’s meticulous work are incision marks outlining the scales and the center impression of the compass point used to make them.
Find It. In the ancient Greek case (on the left-hand side in front) on the first floor of the William E. Upjohn Exhibit Wing of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.