This catalogue and the exhibition it accompanies owe their genesis and realization to a host of individuals, both past and present. The contributions of those who played a central part in the discovery and scholarly elucidation of the town of Karanis and its inhabitants are noted in the first chapter. It seems fitting, however, to single out one of those persons here - Professor Francis W. Kelsey - to whom the tradition of research in Ancient Near Eastern and Classical Archaeology at The University of Michigan owes so great a debt. In the case of Karanis, it was due to his characteristic vision and enterprising spirit that the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is in a position today to illustrate, in greater detail than any other museum outside of Egypt itself, what daily life was like in that extraordinary land in the Graeco-Roman period.
The richness of the Karanis collections housed on this campus has long been renowned among specialists all over the world. Rarely, however, have these collections been presented to the community at large in a manner which attempts to communicate the vitality of life in that ancient town. That the attempt has been made on this occasion is largely due to the interest, enthusiasm, and very hard work of two graduate students in the Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program in Classical Art and Archaeology - Andrea Berlin and Jacqueline Royer. A year ago they approached me about the possibility of preparing an exhibition as part of their program of graduate study, and soon thereafter the notion of focusing upon one of the major archaeological expeditions of The University of Michigan emerged. Their combined interests in fieldwork, architecture, and the Ancient Near East lent themselves ideally to the site of Karanis. These students have not only endured many unanticipated trials with remarkable cheer but at every stage of the project have contributed creatively and selflessly toward its successful outcome.
A complex undertaking of this sort would not be possible without the close cooperation of many members of the Museum staff. We are especially indebted to Director John Griffiths Pedley for his unfailing encouragement and support and to those members of the Kelsey staff who patiently forebore the many demands we made upon their energies, time and good will. En route from storage ranges to the galleries, the objects in the exhibition passed through the able hands of registrar Pamela Reister, conservator Amy Rosenberg, and photographers Fred Anderegg and Sue Webb. In the galleries they were placed in environments suggestive of their original settings ingeniously designed and artfully constructed by technician David Slee.
In the preparation of the catalogue, we have availed ourselves of the presence in Ann Arbor of numerous persons knowledgeable of the materials from Karanis: Professor Ludwig Koenen kindly offered bibliographical suggestions; Kelsey archivist Carol Finerman helped us locate documents pertaining to the history of the expedition; Ann van Rosevelt shared her expertise on textiles as did Marti Lu Allen on terracotta figurines and Louise Shier on lamps. The text of the catalogue has greatly benefited from the careful and perceptive reading of Assistant Curator Margaret Cool Root who guided us towards many refinements of both thought and prose. With administrative and stenographic efficiency, Kathleen Davis and Rachel Vargas saw us through numerous drafts of the catalogue text and exhibition labels as well as a myriad of other tasks which attend projects of this kind. Every detail of the production and design of the catalogue was overseen by Carol Hellman and Carol Gregg, respectively, of the University Publications staff. Finally, we are grateful to the College of Literature, Science and the Arts for a generous grant towards meeting publication and installation costs.
Elaine K. Gazda
Associate Director (in 1983)
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Copyright 1983, 1997, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan. All Rights Reserved.