A Taste of the Ancient World:
Feeding Karanis

The site of Karanis, a farming town in Roman Egypt (see map), was excavated by the University of Michigan from 1924-35, initially under the direction of Francis Kelsey himself. The Michigan excavations took a great - and for that time unusual - interest in the 'daily life' of this ancient farming town. As a result, many humble, food-related items were carefully brought back to Ann Arbor and stored in the Kelsey Museum.

Under the Roman empire (ca.1st -5th century AD), Karanis was a small agriculturally based community, whose people farmed to keep themselves alive. They were obligated, however, to feed others as well. Grain grown at Karanis was regularly shipped far away - for example to supply the needs of Rome, the imperial capital.


 Farming and Processing



 Storage and Cooking



 Serving and Eating

Exhibit Index

 More Food for Thought

Exhibit Acknowledgements


 Kelsey Museum Homepage