Image: Photograph of a ‘beach composed almost entirely of flakes’ at Suloga Village, Papua New Guinea, taken on the Cooke-Daniels Ethnographical Expedition to British New Guinea, 1903-1904 (from Seligmann and Mersh Strong 1906b: 348).
My next book - an edited volume titled World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: a characterization will be published in March 2013. The book is the product of a research programme that I ran at the Pitt Rivers Museum between 2009 and 2011. It offers an overview - what we have called a 'characterization' - of the whole of the archaeological collections of the museum, from around the world. The chapter that I wrote on Australia and Oceania (Chapter 27) is published below. Further details on the book are here. The introduction to the book is online on this blog here, or on academia.edu here.
Cite this paper as: Dan Hicks 2013. Australia and Oceania. In D. Hicks and A. Stevenson (eds) World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: a characterization. Oxford: Archaeopress.
27 Australia and Oceania
Oceania has been a major focus of collections-based research activity at the Pitt Rivers Museum (PRM) throughout the past 25 years. However, in the studies by museum staff of 18th- and 19th-century voyages of exploration and encounter (Coote et al. 2000; Coote 2004a, 2004b), of colonialism and collecting in Papua New Guinea (Gosden and Knowles 2001), of the Somerville collection of artefacts from the Solomon Islands (Waite 1984), or of Australia in Oxford (Morphy and Edwards 1988), it is no overstatement to say that the archaeological collections have been virtually invisible. The PRM holds c. 40,117 objects from Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand), of which almost half (c. 19,015 objects) are currently defined as archaeological in the PRM database (Table 1.7). These artefacts are discussed across the next three chapters. Some 16,022 of these objects are from Australia, c. 1,658 from Polynesia, c. 1,177 from Melanesia, and c. 121 from Micronesia. Of the Australian objects, c. 14,497 are from Tasmania. Most of these are from the collection of Ernest Westlake – a body of c. 12,543 Tasmanian artefacts (all but eight of which are stone tools) that was purchased by the PRM in the 1930s – but they also include a large collection made by Edward Burnett Tylor (see 27.4.2–3 below).
This chapter presents an overview of these collections from Oceania, and provides the context for a more detailed discussions of the material from New Zealand (Chapter 28), and from Easter Island and Pitcairn (Chapter 29). After Australia, the largest bodies of archaeological material from the region are represented by the c. 841 objects from Papua New Guinea, the c. 622 objects from Easter Island (Rapa Nui), and the c. 595 objects from New Zealand (but see the discussion of New Zealand in 27.2.1 below). Other significant bodies of material comprise the c. 133 objects from the Solomon Islands, the c. 105 objects from the Federated States of Micronesia, the c. 102 objects from French Polynesia, the c. 99 objects from New Caledonia, the c. 93 objects from the Pitcairn Islands, and the c. 71 objects from Fiji (Figure 27.1).
The chapter begins by considering the c. 1,658 objects from Polynesia: providing brief reference to New Zealand (27.2.1, see Chapter 28) and Easter Island and Pitcairn (27.2.2, see Chapter 29), before detailing the collections from French Polynesia (Gambier Islands, Austral Islands and Society Islands) (27.2.3), the Cook Islands (27.2.4), Samoa (27.2.5), Tonga (27.2.6), and Niue (27.2.7). The small collection from the Hawaiian Islands is considered here as well (27.2.8), rather than with the North American material in Chapter 20. The next section (27.3) considers the c. 1,298 archaeological artefacts from Melanesia and Micronesia. These comprise collections from Papua New Guinea (including the three objects recorded as from West Papua) (27.3.1), Vanuatu (27.3.2), Fiji (27.3.3), New Caledonia (Nouvelle Calédonie) (27.3.4), the Solomon Islands (27.3.5), and Micronesia (27.3.6). A further section (27.4) considers the collections from Australia, outlining the material from Tasmania, including the Westlake Collection (27.4.2), and from the rest of Australia (27.4.3–8). The research potential of the archaeological collections from Oceania is considered in the concluding remarks (27.5).
In addition to the material discussed below, there are c. 33 ‘archaeological’ objects recorded as from Oceania, but for which no country is currently assigned: a lead ball (1899.62.568), a carved stone ball (1899.62.803), stone pendant (1886.1.1543), and c. 21 stone adzes (1899.62.790–801, 1899.62.804–807, 1920.100.188, 1967.37.2, 1970.27.1, 1989.47.33). There are no ‘archaeological’ objects recorded as from Gaum, Naru, the Northern Mariana Islands, Ross Dependency, Tokelau Islands, Tuvalu, or Wallis and Futuna Islands in the PRM collections.
27.2 Collections from Polynesia
27.2.1 New Zealand
The PRM holds c. 683 objects that are currently defined as ‘archaeological’ from New Zealand. However – as is the case for the whole of Oceania – the distinction between ‘archaeological’ and ‘ethnographic’ objects is highly permeable, and the assigning of particular objects to one or other of these categories is often arbitrary – based, for example, purely on the durability of materials (see discussion in 27.5 below). Accordingly, in her detailed examination of the archaeological potential of the c. 1,719 objects held by the PRM from New Zealand (Chapter 28), Yvonne Marshall chooses to discuss all of the objects made of stone and bone – c. 896 objects – alongside other objects that appear to be the product of archaeological fieldwork.
27.2.2 Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and Pitcairn Island
The PRM holds c. 667 artefacts from Rapa Nui (Easter Island), of which c. 622 are recorded on the PRM database as ‘archaeological’. All of the archaeological material pre-dates the first scientific excavations on Rapa Nui in 1955–1956 (Heyerdahl and Ferdon 1961), and all but 44 of these 667 objects were collected by Katherine Routledge and William Scoresby Routledge during their archaeological expedition of March 1914–August 1915. There are also c. 93 archaeological objects from Pitcairn Island, all of which are stone tools. These c. 713 archaeological objects, along with the ‘ethnographic’ material where this is relevant, are discussed with Sue Hamilton, Mike Seager Thomas and Ruth Whitehouse in Chapter 29.
27.2.3 French Polynesia
The PRM holds c. 102 archaeological objects from French Polynesia. These comprise c. 55 objects from the Gambier Islands, c. 30 objects from the Austral Islands, and c. 17 objects from the Society Islands.
All of the c. 55 archaeological objects from the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia, were donated by William Scoresby Routledge in 1925, having been collected in 1921 on his voyage with Katherine Routledge to Polynesia (Routledge and Routledge 1921). All of the objects are made of stone, apart from a single coral pounder (1925.29.101). Most of the material is from Mangareva, including sites at Aiiaia, Ataikingaro, Atituiti, Gatavake, Kirimiro, Rikitea and Taku. The artefacts from Mangareva comprise 11 stone adzes (1925.29.34–35, 1925.29.39–43, 1925.29.53–56), nine stone pounders (1925.29.94–99, 1925.29.102–104), three stone rubbers (1925.29.106–108), a perforated fishing-weight (1925.29.114), a stone ball (1925.29.117), a fragment of a ground stone tool trimmed to form a scraper (1925.29.109), and a stone axe recorded as an imitation of a European steel axe (1925.29.58). Apart from the material from Mangareva, the collection comprises four stone adzes and two stone chisels from Akamuru Island (1925.29.27–32); two stone adzes and a stone chisel from Aukena Island (1925.29.36–38); a fragment of a stone adze from Kirimiro (1925.29.57); nine stone adzes (1925.29.44–52); a stone pounder (1925.29.100); four perforated fishing-weights (1925.29.110–113) from Tara-Vai Island; and a single stone adze from Timoe Island (1925.29.33). Two objects have no island of provenance recorded on the PRM database: a stone with a transverse groove (possibly a weight) (1925.29.116), and a fragment of a stone food pounder (1925.29.105). One of the stone adzes from Tara-Vai Island (1925.29.52) is recorded as having an anthropomorphic form, and to have been an object of worship.
All but one of the c. 30 archaeological objects from the Austral Islands were all donated by William Scoresby Routledge in 1925, following his voyage with Katherine Routledge to Mangareva and Polynesia in 1921–1923. The single object from the Austral Islands that was not collected by the Routledges is a stone figure, named Arununa, from the ceremonial enclosure (marae) in the Mateaina district of Raivavaé Island (1886.1.1427. Figure 27.2.) (Heyerdahl 1965: 147; Skjölsvold 1965: 97). The figure was obtained from Tahouhnatama (Tuhuhuatama), the principal chief of Raivavaé, in July 1826 by Captain S. P. Henry for Samuel Stutchbury of the Pacific Pearl Company (Duncan 1836: 147). It was acquired from Henry by Stutchbury at Mairipeha for two gold brooches, offered for sale at auction at Sowerby’s, Regent Street, London, on 26 July 1827, but apparently purchased privately from Stutchbury by the geologist and geographer George William Featherstonhaugh, who was then based in New York. The figure was given by Featherstonhaugh to the Ashmolean Museum in 1827, and transferred to the PRM in 1886.
There are seven further artefacts from Raivavaé Island within the Routledge collections. Five of these are stone adzes, all of which were classified and published by Figueroa and Sánchez in their study of eastern Polynesian adzes (Figueroa and Sánchez 1965: 221) (1925.29.71–75). The other two objects are stone pounders with crescent handles (1925.29.88–89). The rest of the Routledge collection from the Austral Islands includes a stone adze (1925.29.77) and three stone pounders (1925.29.91–93) from Rapa Iti; a stone adze from Rimatara (1925.29.70); a coral pounder (1925.29.90) and a stone adze (1925.29.76) from Rurutu. The remaining 15 objects are all from Tubuai Island, and comprise 11 stone adze blades (1925.29.59–69), a stone fishing weight (1925.29.115), three wooden boards with carved chevron designs, recorded as found in a bog or a marsh (1925.29.10–11, 1933.49.1).
One of the c. 17 objects from the Society Islands is from the PRM founding collection: a stone pestle from Tahiti (1884.128.77). Several more stone objects were collected from Tahiti in some of the very earliest points in the history of Pacifc exploration and collecting: a stone pounder and a stone adze collected in 1769 by Joseph Banks on Cook’s first voyage (1887.1.10, 1887.1.391); a stone adze collected by Reinhold and George Forster on Cook’s second voyage in 1773–1774 (1886.1.1334); a stone adze collected at Tahiti by Frederick William Beechey, on HMS Blossom, before 1836 (1886.1.1335), and another stone adze owned by William Wellesley Knighton by 1865, and passed to the PRM from the estate of A.F. Clarke-Jervoise in 1975 (1975.10.5). Six more adzes from the Society Islands include one purchased from Archibald E. Godfrey in 1916 (1916.43.1); one purchased from Devizes Museum in 1922 (1922.62.1); one donated by William Scoresby Routledge having been found on Mehetia Island (1924.15.1); two collected from Raiatea by James Hornell during the St George expedition to the South Pacific in 1925 (1926.1.2–3); and a hafted example from the collection of John Evans, donated in 1928 (1928.68.17). The final object from the Society Islands is a carved stone figure of a bird, recorded as recovered from a ‘cave burial’ on Tahiti before 1935 (1941.2.85; cf. Grüning 1937), from the collection of Harry Geoffrey Beasley, which was known as the Cranmore Ethnographical Museum (Waterfield and King 2006).
27.2.4 Cook Islands
The PRM database records c. 30 archaeological objects from the Cook Islands. Three of these are stone adzes from the island of Mangaia: one from the collection of Robert Henry Ramsden (purchased 1878 and transferred from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) in 1886: 1886.1.1336); one collected by Reverend William Wyatt Gill (see also below), and passed to George Rolleston and the OUMNH before being transferred to the PRM in 1886 (1887.1.708); and one purchased from Reverend Cecil Goddard in 1918 (1918.56.2). Another stone adze, from Rarotonga, was purchased from the estate of Charles Smith in 1923 (1923.87.291), and a fifth stone adze, with no particular island of provenance recorded, was donated from the collection of Alexander Gawthrop Wade in 1953 (1953.7.1). The remaining c. 25 objects are fragments of human bone recovered from caves on the island of Mangaia, collected by William Wyatt Gill, and passed to the OUMNH by George Rolleston before being transferred to the PRM in 1886 (2003.49.1; cf. Gill 1894).
The PRM holds c. 33 archaeological objects from the Independent State of Samoa, all of which are stone adzes. These include four stone adzes from the PRM founding collection (1884.126.37, 1884.126.45, 1884.126.60–61), three of which were previously held by the Godeffroy Museum, Hamburg (cf. Buschmann 2000: 58–60; Buschmann 2009: 33–35; Penny 2000). A further 20 stone adzes from Samoa were transferred from the OUMNH in 1886 (1887.1.11–30), and three more stone adzes from the collection of Henry Archibald Tufnell, and collected in Samoa by Tufnell or William Macgregor, were donated in 1899 (1899.62.783–785). Three more basalt adzes, recorded as collected by ‘the brother of J.W. Gray’, were donated in 1933 (1933.71.1–3).
The PRM holds 10 archaeological objects from Tonga, in addition to a wide range of 18th-century ethnographic collections (Kaeppler 1971). One of these is from the PRM founding collection: a stone adze purchased by Pitt-Rivers for 5/- before 1874 (1884.126.45). Six objects were donated by Henry Boyle Townshend Somerville in 1896: stone axe from Lofanga Island (1896.16.16), and five stones ‘from graves of the Tu’itonga’ on Tongatabu Island (1896.16.20). There are also two stone adzes donated by Arthur Maurice Hocart in 1914 (1914.15.23–24), and a ground stone axe donated by Isabella Christina Montagu Burrows (1935.75.11).
The PRM holds 12 archaeological objects from Niue. There are five carved stalagmite balls (1887.1.581, 1887.1.583–586), two carved shell balls (1887.1.582, 1887.1.587) and one carved stone ball (1887.1.588) collected by Reverend William George Lawes (a missionary) in 1879, and two stone objects from the collection of John Evans, and possibly obtained by Evans from Augustus Wollaston Franks in the 1870s (1928.68.15–16). A further carved stalagmite object was purchased from James Edge-Partington in 1913 (1913.65.29). These 11 objects are described on the PRM database as ‘throwing weapons’: an interpretation perhaps suggested by James Cook’s account of such objects in February 1778 (Smith 1876: 318). The twelfth object is a stone adze, which was transferred with no detailed provenance from the OUMNH in 1886 (1887.1.64).
27.2.8 Hawaiian Islands
The PRM holds c. 42 archaeological objects from the Hawaiian Islands, all of which are worked stone artefacts. These are considered here, rather than with the North American material in Chapter 20 above. The earliest object collected is a basalt adze head (1886.1.1338), collected by Andrew Bloxam while serving as the naturalist on the voyage of HMS Blonde to South America and the Pacific in 1824–1826. Another basalt adze head, from the collection of Henry Dyke Acland, is recorded as probably from the Hawaiian Islands (1901.30.3). Also from Acland’s collection is a stone bowling disc (1901.31.12). Some 23 stone adzes, fishing weights, pounders and rubbers – along with three objects recorded as a ‘stone cup’, a stone lamp and a stone mirror, three stones used as gaming pieces, and three sling-stones – are recorded as ‘collected during ploughing and other agricultural operations on an estate on the islands of Oahu’, and were donated by Robert Dukinfield Derbyshire in 1901 (1901.43.1–32). Four further basalt adzes were donated: by Donald Gunn in 1907 (1907.40.2); by Robert Shelford in 1912 (1912.31.96); and from the estate of Henry Nottidge Moseley in 1915 (having been collected in the 1870s when he was serving on HMS Challenger, 1915.25.98). Also collected by Moseley at this time, from the island of Oahu, is recorded as a sling-stone that came to the PRM from the collection of John Evans (1928.68.14). Finally, a stone recorded as used for polishing gourds was donated by James Edge Partington in 1913 (1913.65.32).
27.3 Collections from Melanesia and Micronesia
27.3.1 Papua New Guinea and West Papua
Papua New Guinea has been a principal focus of the ethnological fieldwork of several researchers associated with the history of the PRM. Henry Nottige Moseley, who was Linacre Chair of Human and Comparative Anatomy, and who oversaw, with E.B. Tylor, the transfer of Pitt-Rivers’ collection to Oxford, had served as the naturalist on the voyage of HMS Challenger (1872–1876), and published an account of ‘the inhabitants of the Admiralty Islands’ in 1877, which included descriptions of technology and material culture (Moseley 1877; see also Moseley 1892). Henry Balfour (Curator of the PRM 1890–1939) had interests in Papua New Guinea (e.g. Balfour 1915), and obtained for the PRM a very wide range of material culture from the region – for example six carved wooden canoe prow ornaments collected by Bronislaw Malinlowski (1916.46.1–6), and three artefacts collected by Alfred Cort Haddon during his first expedition to the Torres Straits in 1888–1889, a decade before the more famous anthropological expedition (1889.34.25, 1889.34.41, 1889.34.53). Most significantly, however, Beatrice Blackwood undertook two periods of fieldwork in Papua New Guinea. The first was a trip to Buka and Bougainville (1929–1930), funded by the United States National Research Council (Blackwood 1935). Although the funded research was focused on ‘the problems of sex in a primitive society’, Blackwood’s focus was very much on material culture (Knowles 2000: 253, 255). The second trip, to the Upper Watut Valley (1936–1937), was undertaken at Balfour’s suggestion (Blackwood 1939: 11), and Blackwood actively sought to collect material culture for the PRM collections. In total, Blackwood acquired c. 3,161 objects from Papua New Guinea for the PRM between 1929 and 1938, much of which was collected with a focus on comparative technology. More recently, Papua New Guinea has been a principal regional interest of Chris Gosden (Lecturer-Curator in Archaeology 1992–2007) and Michael O’Hanlon (Director of the PRM, 1998–present).
Of the c. 10,364 objects held in the PRM from Papua New Guinea, just c. 841 are currently defined as archaeological. However, this figure is misleading, for three principal reasons. First, only four of these objects are recorded as clearly archaeological (as distinguished from ‘archaeological or ethnographic’) in character: a stone adze recorded as ‘placed at the head of a burial mound’, purchased from William Downing Webster of Bicester (1895.52.10); a carved stone figure of a bird recorded as ‘found in the overburden while mining for gold’ in the Mount Hagen region in 1936, donated by Michael Leahy (1937.39.61); a polished greenstone axe from Mount Hagen, recorded as ‘probably of considerable antiquity’, also collected by Leahy (1937.39.62) (Anon 1935; Leahy 1936); and a ground diorite axe excavated at a house on Hatherley Road, Cheltenham, England, and donated by Dr Oliver H. Wild (1936.40.1). While these objects are certainly worthy of further study, they are far from typical of the Papua New Guinea collections.
Second, some of the c. 9,517 objects from Papua New Guinea that are currently recorded as purely ‘ethnographic’ are presently divided off from the ‘archaeological’ collections in wholly arbitrary ways. This is most clear with the stone tools. Some 786 of the c. 831 ‘archaeological’ objects are stone tools. These are all unhafted, and all undated, and so include both prehistoric artefacts and objects made in the 20th century. But there are a further c. 473 stone tools that are currently classified as purely ‘ethnographic’ in character, mostly simply because they are hafted. Of course, almost all stone tools pre-date their current hafts, and it is perfectly likely that stone tools from the prehistoric or early colonial periods could be provided with wooden hafts in the processes of collecting, exchange, and trade. Quite apart from the stone tools, we can point to the many ceramic, stone, shell or bone objects that are similarly currently defined as ethnographic, and so fall outside of the present review, but which nevertheless represent significant resources for historical archaeology and historical anthropology. At the same time, the ‘archaeological’ material is often currently defined in this way simply because of materials and forms – for instance because it is a stone adze – rather than, for instance, because it was collected in archaeological fieldwork, or is dated to a particular prehistoric or historical period. Here, making distinctions between the ‘ethnographic’ and the ‘archaeological’ might become unhelpful.
The third reason, and the most challenging one for the archaeologist seeking to define what might count as an ‘archaeological’ object in Papua New Guinea, relates to indigenous conceptions of the past, to fieldworkers’ changing conceptions of the collecting practices and of the temporal boundaries between ethnography and archaeology, and to the place of artefacts in exchanges between these two groups, in which objects can come to embody history, rather than simply being framed by it (Strathern 1990, 1992). Collecting has taken place in the region in the name of ethnography, ethnology, comparative technology, and especially early forms of ethnoarchaeology and experimental archaeology. For example, in some cases Beatrice Blackwood collected ‘modern’ artefacts that were made by indigenous people at her request – which perhaps involved a request to make objects in a traditional manner. A further complication is that some of the stone tools in use in the Kandrian area when Blackwood was there had probably been dug out of earlier sites by local people (Chris Gosden pers. comm.). Some examples of such experimental archaeology or ethnoarchaeology can be seen in the film shot by Blackwood among the Anga people (Kukukuku) of the Upper Watut in 1936–1937, and in her published account of The Technology of a Modern Stone Age People in New Guinea (Blackwood 1950).
Having pointed to these problems of definition, and the permeabilities of ethnographic and archaeological categories in the collections from Papua New Guinea, and having mentioned the four clearly ‘archaeological’ objects above, we can note, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the vast majority of the remaining c. 831 objects that are currently defined as the PRM’s ‘archaeological’ collections are stone tools. Just 47 objects represent the exceptions to this. Some 30 of these are ceramic bowls, pipes, sherds and figures collected by Beatrice Blackwood mainly during her fieldwork on the islands of Buka and Bougainville in 1929–1930, but also from the Madang District in 1937 (1931.86.48–55, 1931.86.63–69, 1931.86.137–142, 1838.36.1338, 1838.36.1449–1453, 1838.36.1458–1459, 1838.36.1568). The PRM holds an unpublished typescript report on the production of pottery in Buka, illustrated with photographs. Some of these objects represent a very early example of ethno-archaeological fieldwork, collected to show particular techniques of coil-made ceramic manufacture. Others are possibly more conventionally archaeological in nature, since they are recorded as sherds of pottery, or as ‘very old’ (1938.36.1568). Apart from the Blackwood material, there are a further six ceramic objects: three undated vessels collected by William George Lawes in 1881 (1887.1.553–555), an undated ceramic bowl from the collection of ‘Admiral Digby’ (1925.23.12), an undated ceramic vessel from the estate of Charles Seligman (1940.12.399), and an undated fragmentary ceramic water vessel, partially cross-mended (2004.129.1).
As well as these 36 ceramic objects, there are 11 fragments of a human skull carved into the shape of a human/animal that were recovered during an archaeological watching brief undertaken by Oxford Archaeological Unit during excavations for the laying of an electricity cable at Huntercombe near Nettlebed in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. These fragments were interpreted as a trophy skull from Papua New Guinea, which was ‘brought back to England and buried’ (1988.54.1). There are also three undated carved stone human figures: one purchased from William Ockelford Oldman (1907.60.22; cf. Oldman 2004a, 2004b), one donated by E.B. Tylor (1911.1.79), and one purchased from James Edge Partington (1913.65.21).
The c. 784 archaeological stone tools from Papua New Guinea include c. 505 collected by Beatrice Blackwood. Some 48 of these were collected during Blackwood’s first field expedition: 43 stone axes and other worked stones from Bougainville and Buka, collected in 1929 or 1930 (1931.86.1–40, 1931.86.134, 1931.86.270–271), and five stone axes from New Ireland collected in September 1929 (1931.86.287–291). The remaining c. 456 archaeological stone tools from Blackwood’s donations were collected during her second expedition. There is an assemblage of c. 59 stone axes and adzes, obsidian cores and flakes and other worked stone, collected in August 1937 from Gasmata on the south coast of New Britain (1938.36.1101–1108, 1938.36.1113–1124, 1938.36.1130–1143, 1938.36.1146–1148, 1938.36.1150–1169, 1938.36.1180, 1938.36.1185–1186, 1938.36.1277). One of these objects – an obsidian core – was subject to Raman spectroscopic analysis in 2007 (1938.36.1154; Carter et al. 2009).
A similar assemblage, collected from villages near Kandrian on the south-west coast of New Britain in June 1937, comprises c. 30 ground stone axes and adzes, perforated stone discs, and hammerstones (1938.36.1091–1100, 1938.36.1109–1112, 1938.36.1125–1129, 1938.36.1137, 1938.36.1144–1145, 1938.36.1149, 1938.36.1181–1184, 1938.36.1187, 1938.36.1278–1280), and a further assemblage of c. 145 obsidian flakes (including debitage) (1938.36.1184). There are also six stone tools from Umboi Island (1938.36.912–917); nine ground stone adzes from Orokolo (1938.36.88–96); c. 39 ground stone adzes and jadeite axes from Irin (or Ilin) Village (1938.36.1598–1636); c. 91 ground stone adzes from Andanora Village (1938.36.436–486, 1938.36.497–513, 1938.36.516–517, 1938.36.520–523); four stone adzes and a stone abrading tool from Ekua Village (1938.36.487–489, 1938.36.518–519); a ground stone adze from Kapau (1938.36.513 .20); a ground stone adze from Manki village (1938.36.490); three ground stone adzes from Awar Village, Madang (1938.36.1371–1372, 1938.36.1376), and c. 39 ground stone adzes from the Ramu River, Madang (1938.36.1409–1448). There are also two stone axes from Mount Hagen (1938.36.836–837); c. 18 ground stone adzes and axes from the Purari Delta (1938.36.312–329, 1938.36.332); two chalcedony chips from Amatchime hamlet, near Manki village (1938.36.592–593); six ground stone adzes recovered from the Watut River during gold-mining activities (1938.36.491–496); and a further grinding stone from Watut River (1938.36.524).
Finally, there are two ground stone adzes recorded as collected from the Admiralty Islands by ‘Mr T. Skiffington’ (1931.86.301–302); seven stone adzes collected by ‘E.W. Leggatt’ from the Lower Watut River and Buang area (1938.36.823–829); two stone adzes collected by ‘Mr Jenyns from Umboi Island’ (1938.36.910–911); and a burnishing stone collected by L.G. Vial from Tami Island (1938.36.865) – all of which were apparently given to Blackwood while she was in the field.
Apart from Blackwood’s collections, c. 281 ‘archaeological’ stone tools from Papua New Guinea were donated between 1884 and 1990. These include five artefacts from the PRM founding collection: a ground stone adze (1884.126.166), three stone axes from the collections of the Godeffroy Museum, Hamburg (1884.126.27–29), and an obsidian spear-head (1884.132.349). There are also two objects that were transferred from the OUMNH in 1886 – a stone axe from Port Moresby, from the collection of William George Lawes (1887.1.580), and a stone club head from Kolali (1887.1.68).
There are five stone adzes collected by Lieutenant Henry Boyle Townshend Somerville while serving on HMS Penguin in 1893 (1894.26.74–78) and another stone adze collected by Admiral Monro on the same voyage (1926.23.11). There are also four obsidian spear-heads, three stone axes and four sling-stones collected by Admiral John Fiot Lee Pearse Maclear when serving on HMS Challenger in 1873–1876 (1909.30.13–16, 1909.30.40, 1909.30.43–48), and three more stone axes collected by Henry Nottidge Moseley on the same voyage (1915.25.35, 1915.25.53–54).
The collections include a number of single or small purchases or donations often with little contextual detail of provenance or antiquity, and are listed here for the sake of completeness: a stone adze purchased from S.G. Fenton and Company (1895.43.15); another stone adze purchased from George Fabian Lawrence (1897.72.25); a stone adze recorded as ‘placed at the head of a burial mound’ purchased from William Downing Webster (1895.52.10; cf. Waterfield 2006); a stone axe donated by Joseph Prestwich (1896.38.1); a sling-stone from Goodenough Island purchased at Stevens Auction Rooms by William Downing Webster (1898.63.4); a greenstone adze purchased from Fred Snare (1900.61.1); 11 stone axes and adzes purchased at Stevens Auction Rooms (1900.62.6–7, 1902.79.10–14, 1902.76.6–9); an obsidian spear-head from the private museum of Stephen William Silver at Letcombe Manor, Oxfordshire (1906.20.53); two club-heads and two stone adzes donated by John Hubert Plunkett (1907.32.1–4); a stone adze collected by George Horsfall Frodsham (1917.12.9); a stone adze from the collection of E.B. Tylor (1917.53.151); a stone axe and a mace-head donated by Oscar Charles Raphael (1919.33.2, 1919.33.6); four stone tools from the collection of Archibald Colquhoun Bell (1921.91.60–63); a greenstone adze from the collection of Henry John Reynolds Moreton, Earl of Ducie (1922.46.201); four stone adzes collected by V.A.C. Findlay from Dobudura (1927.4.1–4); a stone club-head from the collection of John Evans (1928.68.3); and an obsidian boulder and three stone axes collected by S.D. Burrows (1932.53.35, 1933.18.32, 1933.18.49–50); 13 sling-stones and stone adzes collected by Reverend John Dewhurst Bodger (1934.27.4–5, 1942.1.65, 1942.1.196–199); a stone adze from Port Moresby donated by Magdalen College School (1943.4.37); and another stone adze from the collection of Arthur Thomson (1945.5.17). A few further objects of this character came to the PRM after 1945: eight stone adzes from the collections of the Ipswich Museum (1966.1.247–252, 1966.1.255, 1966.1.257); a stone axe collected from Koroba in the Southern Highland District by Filumena Light (1978.8.3); and a stone axe from the collection of Bryan Cranstone, former Curator of the PRM (1990.7.2).
Larger collections include c. 19 stone adzes and club heads collected by Henry S. Rohu from the Yodda River valley, Oro Province (1903.55.150–151, 1903.55.153–167, 1903.55.170, 1904.60.31), and c. 39 stone adzes collected by Diamond Jenness from Goodenough Island (1913.88.180–207, 1919.58.85–95). A collection of eight stone adzes, a sling-stone and four obsidian artefacts from Collingwood Bay, Oro Province were purchased from ‘W.H. Chignell’ (1908.70.97–108, 1908.70.190). ‘W.H. Chignell’ may refer to Arthur Kent Chignell, who described the recovery of ceramics from a midden deposits at Wanigera, which were donated to the British Museum (Chingnell 1909: 19–20), and it is possible – especially given the date of the purchase – that this material comes from the same site. There are also seven polished greenstone adzes from the Musa River and the Mambare River (1916.2.14–21) that appear to have been collected by Henry Balfour in the field, as well as four stone adzes that appear to have been obtained by Balfour in England (1902.16.12–14, 1914.38.7). The PRM also holds c. 33 archaeological objects from Papua New Guinea that were collected by William Cooke Daniels on an expedition with Charles Seligman, which he funded (1906.31.1–18; cf. Seligmann and Mersh Strong 1906a, 1906b). The material from this expedition is largely made up of worked stone from ‘an old axe-blade manufactory near Suloga Peak, Woodlark Islands’ (cf. Seligmann 1912). There are also c. 55 stone adzes, stone drill points and other worked stone tools collected by Charles Seligman (1905.31.1–4, 1940.12.232–276, 1940.12.390–392, 1940.12.394, 1940.12.399, 1940.12.856). Seligmann had been a member of the 1898 Torres Strait Expedition, as well as the 1904 Cooke Daniels Expedition, the latter of which visited the Suloga quarry and manufactory (Seligmann 1905: 53; Figure 27.3).
Also collected on the Cooke Daniels Expedition is a stone recorded as a grave marker from Fly River (1905.63.30). There are three further objects, recorded as very large stone axes used as gravestones at Fly River, from the collections of H.M. Dauncey, which were purchased along with two more stone axes and a perforated club head from the London Missionary Society and Plymouth City Museum in 1910 (1910.59.1–3, 1910.59.9, 1910.62.32, 1910.62.65). Another stone adze was purchased from the London Missionary Society, having been collected by Edward Baxter Riley, in the following year (1911.61.19), and another object, recorded as being a stone axe from ‘Fly River’, was purchased from Sydney Gerald Hewlett in 1927 (1927.73.1).
As well as the material from Papua New Guinea, three objects from West Papua are recorded as archaeological. All are stone adzes, collected from Humboldt Bay by Henry Moseley (1915.25.30) and by Arthur Charles Burgoyne Bromley (1956.8.14) when they were serving on HMS Challenger in the mid 1870s, and by Charles Seligman (1940.12.277).
The overall picture for the archaeological potential of the collections from Papua New Guinea is that among the stone adzes, obsidian blades and perforated discs there are some potentially significant bodies of material. While stone objects hold great potential as points of entry in the study of later prehistory and colonial interactions in the region – perhaps especially the four undated stone figures (1907.60.22, 1911.1.79, 1913.65.21, 1937.39.61; Bulmer and Bulmer 1962) – it is also notable that the ceramics from the region remain unidentified and unstudied, and that Blackwood’s pioneering exercises in ethnoarchaeology have never been fully studied or published. The stone tools from Papua New Guinea offer a distinctive opportunity to explore the transformative and interventionist, rather than purely participatory and observant, nature of anthropological collecting in the region during the early 20th century: objects made through partnerships and exchanges between western researchers and indigenous people, in which traditional or prehistoric forms were created in the present.
The PRM holds c. 31 artefacts from Vanuatu that are currently defined as archaeological. Five of these are from the PRM founding collection, and were collected by Captain James Graham Goodenough (1830–1875): three shell adzes from Ambrym and Malakula (1884.126.240–242), and two stone adzes from Ambrym and Espíritu Santo (1884.126.39–40). The collections include eight further further stone axes and adzes: one collected by Richard Abbay, was transferred from the OUMNH in 1886 (1887.1.141); three collected by Charles F. Wood from Erromango in 1873 (1901.24.30, 1921.93.176–177); another recorded collected from Erromango, Dillon’s Bay (now renamed Williams’ Bay) by S. Archer, and donated in 1915 (1915.32.24); one collected by Robert Henry Codrington from Aoba (now Ambae) before 1888 (1920.100.186); one collected by G.C. Frederick in 1891 from Malakula (1938.23.82); and one collected ‘from an old dancing ground, Peterson’s Station, Niele, Éfate’, and donated by John Jennings in 1898 (1898.76.9). A single obsidian flake from the Banks Islands was also collected by Codrington (1920.100.189). Another shell adze, collected by G.C. Frederick in 1891, was donated in 1938 (1938.23.83).
As well as these stone tools, there are eight undated stone carved human figures and heads, collected by Henry Archibald Tufnell (1899.62.393–395, 1899.62.811), Henry Boyle Townshend (1896.33.53), Josef Mueller (1979.4.3), Raymond Clausen (1999.6.16–17). Finally, there are six unidentified and undated ceramic bowls from Espíritu Santo, donated by G.C. Frederick (1900.49.1–4), Norman H. Hardy (1901.13.1) and an anonymous donor (1984.8.1), and a stalagmite ring donated from the collection of Harry Geoffrey Beasley (cf. 27.2.3 above), that was collected by Captain Meryon of HMS Katoomba in 1895 (1941.2.52).
The PRM holds c. 71 archaeological objects from Fiji. These include eight artefacts from the PRM founding collection: six stone axes and adzes (1884.126.41–44, 1884.126.58–59), and two undated ceramic vessels: one from Nukumbati Island (1884.140.573) and one with no detailed provenance (1884.140.574). Four further stone adzes from the John Wickham Flower collection, and transferred to the PRM in 1892 (1892.67.78–79, 1892.67.753–754), are recorded as having been collected by ‘G. MacLeay – probably a reference to George Macleay (1809–1891), who was the son of Alexander Macleay, whose collections formed the basis of the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney.
A collection of 12 archaeological objects from Fiji, some of which were from the collection of William Macgregor (a former Lieutenant-Governor of New Guinea), was donated to the PRM through Henry Archibald Tufnell in 1899. These included an object described as ‘a large stone to which offerings were made by women to induce fertility’ (1899.62.427), an unidentified ceramic vessel (1899.62.429), and 10 stone adzes (1899.62.775–782, 1899.62.809–810). An assemblage of eight stone adzes and (1921.93.202–204, 1921.93.221–225), three carved shell balls (1921.93.218–220) five shell adzes (1921.93.226–230), and a ‘very old string-ray spear (1921.93.217) was collected by Charles F. Wood in the mid 1870s, mainly from the island of Rotuma. One of these stone adzes (1921.93.222) is recorded as ‘from a king’s tomb’, and appears to be from the burial sites described by Wood on Rotuma Island (Wood 1875: 19-25; cf. 27.3.6 below).
Another stone adze, recorded as ‘dug up on an old village site’ on Ovalau Island, was donated in 1925 by James Hornell (1926.1.1). Further stone adzes were donated from the collections of Robert Henry Codrington (1920.100.187); Graham Balfour (1902.24.1); Adolphe Brewster Joske (1905.48.1–2); Henry Balfour (1914.38.8); Alexander James Montgomerie Bell (1921.91.68); ‘Miss M.F. Hiron’ (1927.29.3); Eustace Fulcrand Bosanquet (1941.4.29, collected by W.A. Miller); E. Ogilvie (1995.49.1); and Arthur Maurice Hocart (1914.56.3–4). Hocart also donated two undated ceramic finger bowls (1914.56.5–6). There are five further undated ceramic objects: a vessel donated by Sydney Gerald Hewlett in 1910 (1910.65.5), three jars collected in the 1870s by Cecil Cortlandt Trotter (1962.1.10–12), and an unidentified object transferred from Hampshire Museums Service in 1994 (1994.4.14). There is also a carved stone ball that was donated by Everard Im Thurn in 1923 (1923.50.9). The PRM also holds eight photographs of stone tools in the Fiji Museum (1949.6.3).
27.3.4 New Caledonia (Nouvelle Calédonie)
The PRM holds c. 99 archaeological objects from New Caledonia. Of these, 11 are from the PRM founding collection: four stone axes (1884.126.35–36, 1884.125.46), and seven ground stone balls, in the shape of prolate spheroids, that are recorded as ‘sling-stones’ (1884.29.6–11, 1884.140.918). There are many more similar stone balls/sling-stones in the collections from New Caledonia. Six similar stone balls/sling-stones are from the collection made on Cook’s second voyage (1773–1774) by Johann Reinhold Forster and George Forster (1886.1.1535 .2–.7). Six more are from a collection made around 1880 by ‘J.E. Shaw’ (1927.67.1–6), 18 are from the John Evans collection (some of which were collected by John Yonge Akerman, 1928.68.9–13), eight (1941.2.54) are from the collection of Harry Geoffrey Beasley (cf. 27.2.3 above), and one is from the collections of Sydney Gerald Hewlett (1927.79.2). A further 12 were purchased from Gustave Glaumont in 1903 (1903.54.11–12), and five more have no details of provenance recorded (2007.23.1–4, 2007.24.1), making a total of 62 carved stone balls/’sling-stones’ from New Caledonia. Also purchased by the PRM from Glaumont was a nbouet (1903.54.1; historically known as a ‘cannibal’ knife, see Thomas 1991: 138) with a nephrite blade, and eight nephrite adzes (1903.54.2–9).
Nine stone adzes came to the PRM from various sources: three purchased from John Jennings (1898.76.1–3) and Archibald Colquhoun Bell (1921.91.67), and six donations of single adzes by Manchester College (collected by S. Archer, 1915.32.23), Louis Colville Gray Clarke (1919.1.9), Arthur John de Havilland Bushnell (1921.44.11), J.S.D. Thornton (1967.37.3), and from the estate of John Evans (1928.68.6–7). A further adze blade was recorded as ‘dug up at a chrome mine’, and was donated by T.D. Dunlop in 1923 (1923.16.1), and yet another was transferred from the Ashmolean Museum in 1969, having been purchased at an earlier date in London by Reginald Campbell Thompson (1969.34.527).
The one archaeological object from New Caledonia that is not made of stone – an undated ceramic vessel (1923.74.1) – was purchased from Emma Hadfield of the London Missionary Society along with seven stones recorded as ‘fishing’, ‘fighting’ and ‘crop-protector’ amulets (1923.74.10–16). A perforated stone amulet, collected by Edward Armytage from an unnamed sea captain, came to the PRM through the Wellcome Institute in 1985 (1985.49.222). Finally, a specimen of greenstone, recorded as used ‘for simulating nephrite’, was donated by Henry Balfour in 1929 (1929.7.2).
27.3.5 Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands were a focus of research interest for Henry Balfour (Curator of the PRM, 1890–1939), and he published studies of arrow shafts (Balfour 1888, 1889) and human and bird figures on canoe prows (Balfour 1905) from the region. The PRM holds c. 133 archaeological objects from the Solomon Islands. Five of these are from the PRM founding collection: a stone pipe bowl (1884.101.37), a carved stone head depicting a tattooed face (1884.65.67), and a shell adze (1884.126.243), and two carved Tridacna shell pendants (1884.77.25–26). Two stone adzes from the John Wickham Flower collection, collected by George Macleay, were transferred from the OUMNH in 1892 (1892.67.80, 1892.67.755).
Some 28 archaeological objects were donated to the PRM by Henry Boyle Townshend Somerville in 1894–1895 (cf. Waite 1984). These comprise a collection recorded as ‘from a grave, New Georgia group’: an unquantified assemblage of human bone (1894.26.70), 10 perforated shell rings (1894.26.12, 1894.26.69), 10 fragments of shell rings (1894.26.12), and a shell armlet (1895.22.63). Somerville also donated two stone adzes from Uki Island (1894.26.64–65). Objects recorded as collected by Admiral Monro of HMS Penguin, ‘when surveying with Commander Boyle Somerville’, include a shell armlet, a fragment of a shell armlet, and two shell pendants recorded as ‘excavated from graves, New Georgia’ (1926.23.86–89), and three stone adzes (1926.23.11–12, 1927.40.7). Five further objects recorded as excavated from a grave – two shell rings, two shell fragments and a shell pendant recorded as from ‘Eddystone Rock, near Simbo’ in New Georgia – were donated by Norman H. Hardy (1900.55.552–553, 1901.13.7–8). Taken together, these artefacts hold the potential to contribute to the current understanding of traditions of mortuary practice in this region (Walter and Sheppard 2009; cf. Davidson and Leach 1991).
There are c. 55 more stone adzes from the collections of John Evans (1928.68.5) and Harry Geoffrey Beasley (1936.56.1–2; cf. 27.2.3 above), transferred from the OUMNH (1953.6.55–56), and donated by Henry Archibald Tufnell (1889.62.786–787), Graham Balfour (1902.24.2–3), F.H. Drew of the Melanesian Mission (1911.5.22–45, 1911.54.45), Stephen Montague Burrows (1935.36.83), Charles F. Wood (1901.24.24–29, 1921.93.30–53), and Robert Henry Codrington (1920.100.185). As well as these adzes, Codrington also donated an undated carved stone figure of a crouching man, which was collected before 1888 (1920.100.438), while Wood also donated an iron adze recoded as ‘made from a ship’s bolt, in imitation of the prevailing form of stone blade’ (1921.93.54), and nine stone and shell scrapers (1921.93.55–63) from San Cristobal. The remaining five objects are carved shell artefacts comprising a fragment of a door of a mortuary hut ‘of some antiquity’, collected by William Sinker of the Melanesian Mission (1954.8.128), and four carved Tridacna shell ‘grave ornaments’ collected by Charles Morris Woodford and the Melanesian Mission (1954.8.129–131, 1954.8.131, 1954.10.9), from the collection of Harry Geoffrey Beasley (Edge-Partington and Joyce 1904; Woodford 1905; Waite 2011).
The PRM holds c. 105 archaeological objects from the Federated States of Micronesia, none of which are from the PRM founding collection. The first artefact to be donated to the PRM was a single carved stone, interpreted as a sling-stone, given by John Fiot Pearse Maclear in 1893 (1893.36.1 .2). The PRM also holds a shell adze collected by Henry Nottidge Moseley while serving on HMS Challenger (1915.25.86), a perforated crystalline rock disc purchased from J.F.G. Umlauff ( 1928.60.1), two further perforated stone discs – one collected by A.R. Smithwick in 1925 (2003.85.1), one by Harry Beasley (1941.2.67; cf. 27.2.3 above), and a carved shell ball interpreted as a sling-stone collected by Charles Seligman (1940.12.676).
However, the archaeological material from Micronesia are dominated by two collections. First is a collection of c. 53 artefacts made by Charles F. Wood in 1873, during a yachting trip (Wood 1875: 19–25; cf. 27.3.3 above). Some 27 of these were collected from Kosrae Island (Caroline Islands), and comprise seven shell armlets (1921.93.308–314), 17 Tridacna shell adzes (1901.24.31–34, 1921.93.238–250), a shell scraper (1921.93.252), and two stone pounders (1921.93.253–254). The remaining c. 26 objects were collected from the island of Pohnpei (Ponape), and comprise 19 rectangular perforated plaques of shell (1921.93.307), two shell fish-hooks (1921.93.329–330), and five Tridacna shell adzes (1921.93.234–237, 1921.93.518).
Second is an assemblage of c. 45 artefacts that are also from the island of Pohnpei (Ponape), but derive from excavations undertaken by F.W. Christian at Nan Madol: a megalithic site that developed from c. 500 CE, consisting of some 95 artificial islets in the district of Madolenihmw (Metalanim). The fieldwork was carried out in 1896, and published by Christian in 1899 (Christian 1899a, 1899b, 1899c), and was one of the first archaeological interventions undertaken at the site. Most of the objects were donated by Christian himself, and are recorded as ‘dug up in the central vault on the sacred island of Tanach, March 15 1899’, and comprise c. 31 ‘unfinished shell fishing-hook shanks’ (1899.82.5) and a Tridacna shell adze (1899.82.1). The remaining 13 objects, simply recorded as from Christian’s excavations at Nan Madol, came to the PRM from the collection of Harry Geoffrey Beasley, and comprise objects recorded as follows (within 1954.8.132): two Tridacna shell adzes, two unfinished shell pendants, a perforated spondylus shell, two shell chisels, five fragments of carved shell bracelets, a further unidentified shell object with incised decoration, and an unidentified stone tool.
The PRM holds c. 16 Micronesian ‘archaeological’, objects that are from outside the Federated States of Micronesia. From Kiribati, there is a piece of stalactite used for making fish-hooks (1895.28.2), donated by Thomas Graham Balfour, and a shank of stalacmite from which a bone fish-hook would be lashed (1921.93.371), collected by Charles F. Wood. Also collected by Wood are c. 13 pearl shell fish-hook shanks and hook points from Mile (Marshall Islands) (1921.93.342–346, 1921.93.352–358). There is also a turtle-bone scraper (1929.88.2) from Palau, and a shell adze from the PRM founding collection, also from Palau (1884.126.236).
The PRM holds c. 16,022 archaeological objects from Australia. Some 14,497 of these are from Tasmania, and of these c. 12,543 are from a single collection: a collection of artefacts (all but eight of which are stone tools) that was purchased by the PRM from Ernest Westlake in the 1930s. The remaining c. 3,480 archaeological objects from Australia consist of c. 1,954 artefacts from Tasmania, and c. 1,526 artefacts from elsewhere in Australia. Just 14 of these 3,479 objects are from the PRM founding collection, all of which are stone axes (1884.126.18–26, 1884.126.30–34). Little is currently known about these axes, although three are recorded as from Queensland (1884.126.18–19, 1884.126.33), one of which was collected at Port Bowen, Queensland, probably by Frederick Matthew Rayner when serving on HMS Vincent in the 1850s (1884.126.33).
The vast majority of the archaeological collections can be located by state. The next seven sections discuss the collections by state: from Tasmania (27.4.2) and the Westlake Collection (27.4.3) to New South Wales (27.4.4), Victoria (27.4.5), Queensland (27.4.6), South Australia (27.4.7), Northern Territory (27.4.8), and Western Australia (27.4.9).
Those c. 44 objects that cannot be located by state include some of the artefacts from the PRM founding collection; 10 stone tools transferred from the OUMNH in 1887 and 1892 (1887.1.5–6, 1891.61.6, 1892.67.77, 1892.67.748–752); a stone axe fragment collected by Robert Peel and donated to the PRM by the Anthropological Institute (1893.83.2; cf. Wake 1871: xxxi); two stone axes from the collection of E.B. Tylor (1911.32.70, 1917.53.150); three stone tools donated by Huugh Shortt of Salisbury Museum (1950.10.68–70); and a number of other single donations of stone tools.
The PRM holds c. 14,534 objects from Tasmania, of which almost all – c. 14,497 – are currently defined as ‘archaeological’. The bulk of this is made up of the estimated 12,543 objects that comprise the Westlake Collection of stone tools – a collection that represents some 9% of the total world archaeological collections of the PRM. The Westlake collection is considered in a separate section below (27.4.3).
However, quite apart from the Westlake collection, the PRM also holds a further c. 1,954 archaeological objects from Tasmania. The island was the subject of papers on stone tools by Edward Burnett Tylor and Henry Balfour (Tylor 1893, 1895, 1898, 1900; Balfour 1925, 1929). Tylor’s particular interest was in the potential for Tasmanian stone tool technology to be seen as representative of a contemporary Stone Age culture, ‘at a somewhat less advanced stage…than the Palaeolithic men of Europe, who habitually shaped many of their stone implements into more regular and effective forms by skilful alternate flaking on either side’ (Tylor 1890: vi–vii; cf. Murray 1992; Gamble and Moutsiou 2011).
Some 1,585 artefacts in the Tasmanian collections derive from the collection of E.B. Tylor, having been donated between 1889 and 1917. This is however a very rough estimate, since the collections have remained unstudied since they were deposited by Tylor. One record, for example, for an unquantified number of stone tools donated from Tylor’s estate is estimated as comprising c. 1,000 objects (1917.53.736). The earliest object to be donated was a cast of a stone tool from Taunton Museum, donated in November 1889 (1889.33.1). It is probable that this is a cast of the same object discussed by Tylor in his 1865 book The Early History of Mankind, where he wrote that
The Tasmanians sometimes used for cutting or notching wood a very rude instrument. Eye-witnesses describe how they would pick up a suitable flat stone, knock off chips from one side, partly or all around the edge, and use it without more ado; and there is a specimen corresponding exactly to this description in the Taunton Museum (Tylor 1865: 195).
A donation by Tylor in December 1910 comprised an estimated 317 stone tools, collected by Joseph Paxton Moir and ‘Mr Green, NW Coast’, and are recorded as being from ‘McAuliffes’ (1910.42.1). A second very large unquantified collection of animal bone and stone tools, ‘dug up in a midden on Bruni [Bruny] Island’, was donated at the same time, and is currently estimated as comprising c. 100 objects (1910.42.2). Also given in December 1910 were three casts of stone tools from Taunton Museum, made in 1893 (1910.42.3). A further c. 21 stone tools ‘from Dr Tylor’s collection’ were donated by Alexander James Montgomerie Bell in September 1911 (1911.30.6–26). Some 51 more stone tools, also from Tylor’s collection, having been collected by Joseph Paxton Moir, was passed to the PRM by Bell in 1920 (1921.91.1–51).
A single stone tool, recorded as a ‘rough Tasmanian implement of agate, worked to a blunt point’ was donated in 1911 (1911.32.71). The remaining objects donated by Tylor came from his estate, through his widow Anna Tylor, in 1917. These include stone tools from Cambridge (1917.53.152) and Colebrook (1917.53.153–156) collected by John V. Cook, and a collection of c. 87 stone tools collected by Alexander Morton, W.L. Williamson, and J.P. Moir (1917.53.157–243). The most recent record (1917.53.736) is the unquantified assemblage of c. 1,000 stone tools also donated through Anna Tylor after his death.
A more modest collection of stone tools were donated by Henry Balfour: five stone tools loaned in 1893 (1893.80.5–9), eight stone tools donated in 1913 (1913.25.31–38), a single stone tool donated in 1917 (1917.9.50), and three gun-flint bequeathed in 1939 (1938.35.252–254).
A number of other collectors, apart from Tylor and Balfour, are represented by the Tasmanian collections. Working through them roughly in chronological order of donation, the first material is a collection of c. 10 stone tools donated by the Curator of the Hobart Museum in June 1904 (1904.15.1–10). A stone axe and an unquantified assemblage of stone tools and shells from a midden at Waterloo Point were donated by Elsie Dry Beech in 1905 (1905.34.1–2). Some 15 stone tools were donated by Reverend C.G. Wilkinson of Launceston Grammar School through the British Museum in 1906 (1906.38.1–15). A further c. 39 stone tools, collected by E.A. Elliott, the Honorary Secretary of the Tasmanian Field Naturalists Club at sites including Kelvedon Estate, were donated in November 1909 (1909.48.1–39; see Noetling 1907a; see also Noetling 1907b, 1907c, 1908). A collection of c. 44 stone tools from sites near Hobart, collected by John V. Cook, were donated by A.W. Clemes in 1910 (1910.41.1–44). An unquantified assemblage of shells and opercula from a midden at Brown’s River, West Hobart was collected by Sydney Gerald Hewlett in 1912 (1912.17.3), along with two stone tools (1912.67.9, 1927.6.9). Also collected by Hewlett are six stone scrapers found near Hobart, and purchased by the PRM in 1934 (1934.72.1–6). Alfred Stephen Kenyon, who also gave a large collection of archaeological material from Victoria (see 27.4.5 below), donated a single stone tool from Tasmania in 1917 (1917.10.39). Some 27 stone tools were purchased at a sale at Stevens Auction Rooms in January 1920 (1920.88.1–27). A collection of c. 56 stone tools, collected by Joseph Paxton Moir and purchased at a sale at Sotheby’s on nine November 1921 by Louis Colville Gray Clarke, were donated to the PRM by Clarke in 1921 (1921.67.1–56).
An unquantified assemblage of more than 100 stone tools from a midden near Hobart and other sites was donated by Alfred Walter Francis Fuller in 1935 (1935.17.1–3; see Waterfield and King 2006). An unquantified collection of stone tools from Orford, near Hobart was donated by Francis Knowles in 1930 (1930.3.2–5). Finally, a collection of 13 stone tools collected from Little Swanport River by an unnamed American woman were donated to the PRM by Sir Richard Doll in September 1980 (1980.12.1–13).
27.4.3 The Westlake Collection
Of the c. 16,021 Australian artefacts that are currently defined as ‘archaeological’ in the PRM database, some 80% (12,543) are from the collection of Ernest Westlake (1856–1922). Westlake was a geologist (Westlake 1888), and a founding member of the Hampshire Field Club, and of the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry – an alternative to the Boy Scouts, which was later renamed the Woodcraft Folk (Delair 1981, 1985). Over his lifetime Westlake collected a wide range of fossils, geological specimens and archaeological stone tools. His fossil collections are held by Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, and there is also a significant collection of geological material in the OUMNH. The Westlake Collection of stone tools from Tasmania held by the PRM was purchased in April 1934, although some aspects of the purchase were not completed until January 1940, shortly after Henry Balfour’s death (1934.83.1–999; 1934.84.1–4171, 1934.85.1–2805, 1934.86.1–4391). However, it appears that much of the collection was already on loan to the PRM by 1924 (Petch and Taylor 2008), when Henry Balfour wrote in the PRM’s Annual Report for 1924 that
I have been engaged in research work upon the very fine collection of Tasmanian stone implements formed by the late Mr. E. Westlake. This is by far the finest collection of its kind in the kingdom and will throw much light upon the status of the Tasmanians among Stone-age peoples (PRM Annual Report 1924: unpaginated)
Balfour studied the Westlake stone tools during the 1920s and 1930s, publishing a paper on them in 1925 (Balfour 1925). The PRM holds an unpublished manuscript, hand-written by Balfour, titled ‘Stone Implements of the Natives of Tasmania’, with editorial notes and an introduction written by Tom Penniman and Beatrice Blackwood (PRM Manuscript Collections).
The vast majority of the enormous Westlake Collection comprises stone artefacts. However, there are c. 349 objects that are made of other materials: c. 309 objects are described as ‘fossilized wood tools’, mostly from the East Coast of Tasmania (1934.84.801–1107, 1934.84.3861); two flaked glass tools (1934.86.2670–2671); a kangaroo bone tool from Adventure Bay (1934.86.2507); and c. 37 specimens of ochre (1934.83.81, 1983.447–450, 1934.83.862–883, 1934.83.1275). As well as the objects, the PRM holds a very large documentary archive of Westlake’s papers (PRM Manuscript Collections, Westlake Papers; cf. Plomley 1991). The c. 12,194 stone tools were collected by Westlake himself during a visit to Tasmania in 1908–1910, and by James Paxton Moir, who had also been a collector for Tylor’s collection of Tasmanian material, and was also the collector of the Tasmanian artefacts donated by Louis Colville Gray Clarke in 1921 (see 27.4.4 above). A wide range of sites and fieldwork is represented, but the collection and Balfour’s notes and manuscript remain almost completely unstudied (but see Taylor 2012).
27.4.4 New South Wales
There are c. 696 archaeological artefacts from New South Wales. No more detailed provenance is provided for five of these objects: a stone adze from the collection of Charles Seligman (1940.12.230), a stone axe from the collection of John Wickham Flower, transferred from the OUMNH in 1892 (1892.67.746), two stone tools donated by Alan Herbert Colbert (1932.42.38, 1935.71.3), and a stone axe collected by Henry Nottidge Moseley during the voyage of HMS Challenger in 1872–1876 (1915.25.19). Also from Moseley’s 1870s travels is an unquantified assemblage of shells from a kitchen midden at Berowra Creek, Hawkesbury River (1887.1.693): a site that he visited twice, publishing an account that described this shell midden, and suggesting that it ‘was in old times the haunt of numerous Aborigines, who lived on its banks in order to eat the oysters and mussels and the fish’ (Moseley 1892: 234).
Other early collections include a stone axe collected from Richmond River by ‘T. Wilson’ and donated in 1886 (1886.7.1); five further stone axes and four stone pounders from the same area collected by James Francis Turner, Bishop of Grafton and Armidale (1893.38.1–9); a stone axe from Condobolin transferred from the OUMNH with no details of field collector or donor (1887.1.7); three stone axes collected ‘in the bush, New England, NSW’ by J.E. Woodward and donated in 1892 (1892.23.1–3); two stone axes from Jackson’s Farm near Gulgong, Mudgee donated by John Abercromby (1901.9.11–12); and a stone grinder collected by Harry Stockdale, purchased by Norman H. Hardy, and donated to the PRM by Robert Francis Wilkins (1900.55.199). There are also also nine cylindro-conical stones (‘cyclos’) from New South Wales: seven collected from Louth and elsewhere in the Shires of Bourke or Central Darling before 1907 by Graham Officer, and donated by Andrew Lang in 1907 (1907.49.1–7), and two (1900.55.288–289) recovered by Harry Stockwell around 1900 from a grave at Wilcannia, and passed to the PRM through Wilkins and Hardy as with the stone grinder mentioned above. Three objects from New South Wales were donated by Francis Knowles between 1930 and 1950: a stone axe from Brindley Park, Merriwa, Upper Hunter Shire (1930.3.1); a stone axe ‘found in a bola [bora ground] near Wongwibinda [Wangwibinda] near Armidale’ by Mr G.A. Cooke (1933.72.27); and a cast of a stone axe from Wilcannia (1950.1.2).
Records that relate more clearly to active archaeological field collection are provided from a number of other sites. Among the objects donated by Charles Seligman there are c. 275 stone tools from New South Wales. These comprise nine stone flakes and cores collected by William Cooke Daniels from ‘a stone implement factory near Sydney’ (1906.34.1–39); an unquantified assemblage of perhaps 268 stone flakes and débitage recorded as from sites ‘near Sydney’ (1940.12.673–675). An assemblage of c. 36 stone tools collected by George Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers (the grandson of Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers) is also recorded as being from ‘near Sydney’ (1925.18.15–50).
Also from Sydney and its environs is a wide range of material collected from coastal sites. The first donations are three stone tools from Bondi Beach and Maroubra Bay collected by J.P. Jackson in 1913 (1913.43.1–3). An assemblage of c. 49 stone tools from a number of stone tool production sites on sand dunes near Cronulla, Bate Bay and Quilbray Bay, was collected by Thomas Whitelegge, a naturalist who discovered the sites in 1900 and co-authored an account of ‘Aboriginal workshops on the coast of New South Wales’ in 1907 (Etheridge and Whitelegge 1907; 1914.79.2–50). Further stone tools from the Cronulla and Quilbray Bay area were donated by Alan Herbert Coltart (1932.42.1–22, 1932.42.32–34, 1932.42.36, 1932.42.40–41), along with stone tools from Murramarang (1932.42.42, 1932.42.70) and Woolongong: from sites at Point Kembla, (1932.42.23–31), Bellambi (1932.42.35, 1932.42.37, 1932.42.39, 1932.42.43), and Maroubra Bay (1935.71.2).
Further material from the Sydney coastline was included within a collection that came to the PRM through an exchange with the Australian Museum, Sydney in 1950. There are c. 90 stone tools from New South Wales in this collection (1950.2.3–93). Much of this material comprises stone scrapers, points and cores derived from fieldwork at two ‘surface workshops’ near a rock-shelter at Lapstone Creek, Emu Plains, eastern New South Wales, published by Frederick D. McCarthy in 1948 (McCarthy 1948; 1950.2.14–20, 1950.2.30–32, 1950.2.53–55, 1950.2.77–78, 1950.2.82–87, 1950.2.90). The remaining objects comprise assemblages from Cronulla and Quibray Bay (1950.2.11, 1950.2.33–35, 1950.2.74); Murramarang (1950.2.5–6, 1950.2.21–28, 1950.2.56–65, 1950.2.75); Bellambi (1950.2.4, 1950.2.7, 1950.2.9–10, 1950.2.12, 1950.2.66–71); Shell Harbour (1950.2.73, 1950.2.81); Singleton, Hunter Valley (1950.2.3, 1950.2.13, 1950.2.36–52, 1950.2.72, 1950.2.76); Tuross Head (1950.2.29); Anna Bay, Port Stephens (1950.2.79); Mereweather, Newcastle (1950.2.8); Point Plomer, Port Macquarie (1950.2.80); ‘Central Tableland’ (1950.2.89); Lawrence’s Paddocks, Duckmaloi River, Blue Mountains (1950.2.88); and Wilcannia (including Mena Murtee) (1950.2.91–93).
A large unquantified assemblage of stone tools (more than 110 in total) and a sample of ‘white earth used as a pigment’ was collected from ‘an old campsite at Brigagee near Nurrandera, Merose Creek’ in southern New South Wales by Daniel James Mahony (1915.39.8–10). There is also a stone axe from Wee Watta, Killara, near Sydney, donated by the National Museum, Melbourne (now Museum Victoria) in 1920 (1920.60.1). Further individual stone axes from New South Wales comprise one ‘found near Buckland Bridge Ovens, South Australia’, donated by Robert Rawlinson in 1865, and transferred from the Ashmolean Museum in 1969 (1969.34.15), and one from Bourke, donated by Alfred Walter Francis Fuller (1936.80.14). A collection made by Stanley Robert Mitchell includes four ‘Tula’-type axes from Dunlop (1950.6.10), an end-scraper from Wilcannia (1950.6.6), and an ‘Elouera’-type adze blade from Bellambi, Wollongong (1950.6.11). Finally, there are three stone tools from Murramurang, collected by John Mulvaney in the 1960s (2003.113.1–3).
There are c. 519 ‘archaeological’ artefacts from Victoria, among which the earliest donation is a fragment of polished stalagmite from the collection of Alexander James Montgomerie Bell (1912.19.1). Another of the earliest donations is a stone axe from Kilmore donated by Walter Baldwin Spencer (1914.36.1). Spencer also donated stone tools from midden sites at Wilson’s Promentory, Gippsland (1924.7.7–10) Cape Wollamai (1924.7.11–15), and Altona Bay (1924.7.3–6).
The largest single collector for the region in the PRM collections is Alfred Stephen Kenyon. In 1915 he donated a large unquantified assemblage of worked stone – more than 110 objects – from sites including Golborn River Gippsland, Buckley’s Swamp, Chatsworh Quarry, and Daytrap (1915.31.1 4–19). A later donation comprises c. 57 stone tools collected by Alfred Stephen Kenyon from a number of sites in Daytrap, Portland, Warrnambool, Grampians National Park and Glenthompson and elsewhere (1917.10.1–38). Perhaps almost as large as Kenyon’s collections is the material collected by Daniel James Mahony: an unquantified assemblage of more than 120 stone tools ‘from an old camp site, Leigh River, Inverleigh’ (1915.39.11–25); and c. 16 stone tools collected ‘from an old camp site’ near Warrnambool, (1915.39.1–7).
A number of smaller collections make up the rest of the archaeological collections from Victoria. Principal among these are the c. 46 stone tools collected by PRM Curator Henry Balfour when visiting Melbourne: c. 30 from at Keilor (1917.9.10–15) and c. 16 at Maribyrnong (1917.9.16–19). An assemblage of c. 20 stone flakes, surface-collected at Altona and Rockbank, Melbourne by C.S. Walker, was donated to the PRM by Leonhard Adam through J.L. Myres in 1946 (1946.10.56–57). Some eight further stone flakes from Altona were donated by Leonhard Adam in 1948 (1948.4.1), and c. six further stone tools, from a midden at Shelly Beach, Phillip Island, was also donated by Adam (1947.11.1, 1948.4.2). An assemblage of c. five stone tools collected from Mount William, Grampians National Park (1948.11.1–5), and c. 50 stone flakes from Point Cook, Melbourne (1948.4.4) were collected by Peter Darrell Rider Williams-Hunt. A collection made by Stanley Robert Mitchell includes c. 23 stone scrapers from Port Arlington, Willaura and Inverleigh (1950.6.5, 1950.6.7). There are also four stone tools from Anakie, Geelong, donated by John Mulvaney in 1971 (2003.133.7, 2003.133.10–11, 2003.133.20).
Finally, an assemblage of c. 27 stone tools, donated by Brian Gilmore Maegraith in 1934 on behalf of the South Australian Museum, derives from sites in South Australia or Victoria, including Altona Bay and Lake Lonsdale (Victoria) and Lyndhurst, Stuart’s Range, Burra, and Southern Cooper’s Creek (South Australia) (1934.44.1–26). Similarly, c. 14 stone tools donated by Thomas Draper Campbell in 1937 derive from the same sites in South Australia, Queensland or Victoria (1937.17.12–25).
There are c. 69 archaeological artefacts from Queensland. Apart from three stone axes from the PRM founding collection (1884.126.18, 1884.126.33; see 27.5.1 above), the earliest artefacts collected from Queensland include a stone axe collected from Mackenzie River in 1865 (1891.13.1), and a stone axe collected by Reverend W.W. Spicer, donated to the OUMNH, and transferred to the PRM in 1886 (1887.1.480). Further stone axes, with no detailed provenance, were donated by or purchased from T. Herbert Brown (1914.34.1), F.C. Kinchant (1918.46.13), ‘Tyrrell’ (1923.73.1), C.B. Inman (1930.15.1), James Thomas Hooper (1930.73.1, 1923.76.1–3), Wilfred Hammerton Antrobus Cowell (1937.15.1–2), Charles Seligman (1940.12.231), R.R. Marett (1942.2.4), Magdalen College School (1943.4.48–49), Herbert Vander Vord Noone (1947.9.63).
A collection from the Torres Straits, made by Alfred Cort Haddon on his first (zoological) expedition to the Torres Straits in 1888 (see Fleure 1941: 452), includes a carved stone figure (1889.34.127), and an object described as a rounded pebble (1889.34.129). Also from the Torres Straits is a carved stone figure of a shark purchased from Stevens Auction Rooms (1903.46.1).
A small range of material derives from archaeological collecting elsewhere in Queensland. There are two scrapers collected by Alfred Stephen Kenyon from Longreach (1917.10.20–21), and four scrapers and ‘tula’-type adzes collected from Nappa Merrie, Oontoo and donated by John Mulvaney in 1971 (2003.133.12–14, 2003.133.26–27). Two wooden clubs, recorded as ‘dug up when excavating for a tank on the St George-Bolton Road, south Queensland, 48 miles west of St George’, were donated by George Cole in 1914 (1914.35.1–2). An assemblage of stone tools – four stone axes, three sandstone pounders or rubbers, c. 26 stone flakes, and a fragment of ‘ochreous stone’ – were collected by Robert Cosby Knowles from his farm at Namarva, Winton, and donated to the PRM by Francis Knowles in 1933 (1933.48.1–10).
27.4.7 South Australia
There are c. 76 archaeological objects from South Australia, and additionally c. 41 objects that may be from South Australia or Victoria, which are listed in 27.4.5 above. One of the earliest donations is a stone axe found by Robert Rawlinson from ‘near Buckland Bridge Ovens’, and donated to the Ashmolean Museum in 1865, before being transferred to the PRM in 1969 (1969.34.15). An even earlier donation is vessel made from a human calvaria, known to have been at Christ Church, Oxford by 1860, and transferred to the PRM in 1887 (1887.33.25). A stone axe from the collection of John Wickham Flower, recorded as being from Mount Gambier, was transferred from the OUMNH in 1892 (1892.67.745).
Further stone tools include a stone axe from Lake Eyre donated by John Bagot (1902.49.4), a stone core from Ooldea donated by Theodore George Bentley Osborn (1940.7.304), and two stone tools from Talem Bend, Murray River donated by Stephen Kenyon (1915.31.2–3). There is also an assemblage of five stone tools collected by Harold More Cooper from sites at Hog Bay and Discovery Lagoon, Kangaroo Island, and from Noarlunga, Hallett’s Cove, Brachina Creek, (1947.1.68–72); a stone grinder and a ‘natural phallic stone’ from South Australia were donated by George Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers in 1925 (1925.18.13–14); an assemblage of c. 19 stone tools collected from sites including Ooldea, Miller’s Creek, Morphet Vale, Moonta and Moana, Adelaide by Herbert Vander Vord Noone in the 1930s, (1947.9.44–61, 1947.9.72); and four stone tools collected from Hood’s Drift, Longorong by Stanley Robert Mitchell (1950.6.4). There are also two stone points from Mulka collected by Mitchell (1950.6.8–9), and a further stone point from Mulka collected by Peter Darrell Rider Williams-Hunt (1948.4.3). Some 18 stone tools from sites near Woomera and including Purple Downs, Eucolo, Philip Ponds, Lake Hart and Oakden Hills were donated by John Mulvaney in 1971 (2003.133.1, 2003.133.6, 2003.133.15–19, 2003.133.21–33). Finally, in addition to the material mentioned in 27.4.5 above, objects donated by Thomas Draper Campbell in 1937 included stone tools from Lyndhurst, Cooper Creek, Burra, Miller’s Creek and Stuart Range (1937.17.1–11)
27.4.8 Northern Territory
There are c. 52 archaeological objects recorded as being from the Northern Territory. A stone axe from the PRM founding collection (1884.126.34) is simply recorded as from ‘N. Territory S. Australia’. Two quartzite spear-heads, donated by William Downing Webster in 1896, are simply recorded as from ‘N. Australia’ (1896.66.3–4).
The collections include c. 33 spear-heads made of glass, quartzite stone and porcelain from telegraph insulators. A glass spear-head from Victoria River, a glass knife from MacDonnell Ranges, and a quartzite spear-head were collected by Harry Stockdale, and purchased from Norman H. Hardy by Robert Francis Wilkins, who donated them to the PRM in 1900 (1900.55.41, 1900.55.266). Another glass spear-head – possibly made from a Pond’s Cold Cream jar – was collected by ‘Mr Badger of Pahiatua, New Zealand’, and donated to the PRM by ‘Dr Comber’ in 1926 (1926.47.1). There are more glass or porcelain spear-heads, from Port Darwin (1930.38.1–2), Livingstone Ranges (1932.53.59), and Alice Springs (1960.12.6). There is also a stone spear-head purchased from Fred Snare (1900.61.2), c. 21 quartzite and glass spear-heads collected from Livingstone Ranges by Eric Conran (1932.53.60–80), and six more quartzite and glass spear-heads purchased from Glendining’s Auction Houses in 1936 (1936.72.2–5, 1936.72.7, 1936.72.9). An unworked fragment of porcelain insulator, collected by Howard and Frances Morphy in 1980, was donated in 1997 (1997.37.2). This type of object is discussed alongside the ‘Kimberley points’ from Western Australia in 27.4.9 below.
Further objects include a chert flake from Roper River donated by Alfred Stephen Kenyon (1917.10.28), a stone axe collected by Stockdale was purchased from James Edge Partington in 1914 (1913.65.45), a stone axe collected by J. Bradshaw from Victoria River, and donated through the British Museum in 1906 (1906.11.1), ‘a specimen of mica with crystal’ collected by Norah E. Finch in 1947 (1952.10.16), and three stone points from Ingaladdi donated by John Mulvaney (2003.133.34–36). A bone awl and two stone grinders collected from the MacDonnell Ranges by the Horn Scientific Expedition in 1894 were donated by Willian Austin Horn in 1897 (1897.36.25, 1897.36.33–34). Another bone awl was collected from Mellville Island by Henry Kenneth Fry, and donated in 1914 (1914.37.1). There are two undated incised and painted stone ceremonial objects (tywerrenge) collected on the Spencer-Gillen expedition of 1901–1902, and donated by Walter Baldwin Spencer in 1903 (1903.39.74–75). Finally, there is a spent bullet, collected by Aboriginal women from Yirrkala from a Second World War firing range at Melville Bay, and used to manufacture pipe-bowls. This object was collected by Frances Morphy in 1973 (1997.37.1).
27.4.9 Western Australia
The PRM holds c. 68 archaeological objects from Western Australia, all but nine of which are pressure-flaked points made from glass, stone and porcelain, and mainly from the Kimberley region: a type of object often referred to as a ‘Kimberley point’.
The earliest objects of this type to be donated were two spear-heads (1896.46.1–2), fashioned from the porcelain of a telegraph insulator and from a sheet of glass respectively at Broome in the Kimberley district, donated by the Council of the Royal Colonial Institute. Two glass spear-heads were donated by William Saville Kent in 1896 (1896.50.2–3). Eight spear-heads made of bottle and sheet glass were collected by Emile Clement (1898.75.29–32, 1900.20.1, 1900.20.4–5, 1924.63.26) along with stone and bone tools used for manufacturing such objects (1900.20.2–3; see also discussion of Clement below). Three were collected by Harry Stockdale and purchased from Norman H. Hardy by Robert Francis Wilkins, who donated them to the PRM in 1900: one made from telegraph insulator porcelain from Elsie Creek, Marble Bar, Pilbara, and two made from glass from Ord River, Cambridge Gulf, Kimberley (1900.55.42). Another glass spear-head from Cambridge Gulf was donated by J.J. Walker in 1904 (1904.15.11), and two more from Kimberley were donated by S.H. Meares in the same year (1904.2.1–2), while another was purchased from Raymond Wilson in 1910 (1910.72.103). Another two porcelain points from a telegraph insulator (1912.37.3, 1913.65.48) and a quartzite spear-head (1913.65.47) were donated by James Edge Partington; two red quartzite spear-heads from Wyndham, Kimberley were collected by J.A.D. Dobson and donated by Finlay Sanderson (1917.11.1–2); two white quartzite spear-heads from Moola Bulla, Kimberley was donated by Bruce Morton Goldie (1918.17.1–2); and six glass spear-heads from Kimberley from the collection of Alexander James Montgomerie Bell were purchased in 1920 (1921.91.54–59). Another five stone spear-heads, mostly from Forrest River, Kimberley were donated by William Coleman Piercy (1935.37.2, 1939.3.211–214), and four glass spear-heads from the collection of Henry Balfour, given to him by Robert Francis Wilkins, were donated in 1938 (1938.35.1401–1404). Further glass spear-heads from Kimberley and elsewhere in Western Australia came to the PRM between 1923 and 1953 (1923.787.318, 1924.63.4–5, 1932.34.1–3, 1939.3.208–210, 1953.10.2–5) These various forms of glass, stone and ceramic pressure-flaked spear-head – seen both here and from the Northern Territory (27.4.8 above) –of interest to Balfour and others in the first half of the 20th century (Balfour 1903, Elkin 1948), and have been studied more recently as artefacts of colonial encounter, exchange and resistance (Harrison 2000, 2002, 2003). The PRM also holds three glass spear-heads made by Francis Knowles in Oxford (1995.20.1–3)
Apart from these spear-heads and points, there are six stone objects – three knives, a pebble, three stone chisels, a stone used for making a glass spear-head, and a ‘tula’-type adze (1898.75.33–34, 1900.20.2, 1900.20.9–11, 1901.58.16–17, 1901.58.19) – that were donated by Emile Clement. There is also a stone axe from Fortescue, Pilbara collected by ‘Colonel Cusack’ and donated to the PRM in 1904 (1904.1.1), and another stone axe purchased from Mrs S. Warrington (1913.70.8).
The sustained neglect of the PRM’s archaeological collections from Australia and Oceania has been largely due to a lack of knowledge about what is held by the PRM, rather than being a reflection of their significance. Indeed, the material holds enormous contemporary research potential for the history of archaeology – whether broad histories of archaeology and colonialism, or more detailed histories of the collecting activities of E.B. Tylor in Tasmania, of Katherine Routledge and William Scoresby Routledge in Easter Island, Pitcairn and French Polynesia, of Beatrice Blackwood in Papua New Guinea, or of the naturalists, antiquarians and others who lie behind the formation of the PRM founding collection or the Christ Church and Ashmolean Museum collections that were historically transferred to the PRM. In part, this current significance derives precisely from the fact that they have been neglected for so long.
The problems of definitions of ‘archaeological’ and ‘anthropological’ material have been touched on throughout this chapter (see also discussions in Chapters 28 and 29). In some cases the distinction is arbitrary: for example, stone tools with gum or resin or with wooden hafts are not considered here, while unhafted stone axes are, regardless of their actual date of manufacture or the ‘archaeological’ or otherwise nature of the collecting activity. The case of glass, ceramic and stone pressure-flaked points from Kimberley and elsewhere in Western Australia and the Northern Territory is another example of ‘ethnographic’ objects collected for interests in archaeology and the history of technology.
Firm, a priori distinctions between such categories of object are clearly often unhelpful: contact with Europeans across Oceania was long and drawn out, especially in the islands, and the influence of 18th- and 19th-century whalers and other European voyagers further blurs any firm historical boundary between prehistory and historical periods, or between archaeological and ethnographic collections. For example, Robin Torrence has argued that in the Admiralty Islands in the 19th century, indigenous people were making stone tools that looked like prehistoric artefacts, and that the manufacture of objects like obsidian-tipped spears and daggers have long-term pre-colonial histories, since ‘prior to the arrival of Europeans exchange with various kinds of foreigners had taken place for thousands of years over a large area and within a number of contexts’ (Torrence 2000: 136; cf. Torrence and Clarke 2011; Harrison 2011). But the permeabilities between archaeology and anthropology can equally serve to mask the status of the PRM collections as a unique resource for the study of the history of archaeological collecting in Oceania, rather than purely the history of colonial encounters and interactions. The collections made by made by Joseph Banks, during Captain Cook’s first voyage in 1768–1771 (Coote 2004a, 2004b), by Johann Reinhold Forster and George Forster on Cook’s second voyage (Coote et al. 1999, 2000), by later voyages by naturalists such as Moseley, and by Tylor’s idea of a living Stone Age in Tasmania, all hold the potential to track the emerging conceptions of Pacific prehistories, as past and as present.
The collections hold much of interest from the early history of excavation in the region: the Routledges’ trips, which need to be re-connected with their archives (see discussion in Chapter 29), but also early excavations and other archaeological collecting activities on the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Tonga by Henry Boyle Somerville, at Nan Madol on Pohnpei (Ponape) in Micronesia by F.W. Christian, or at a range of sites in Tasmania by Joseph Paxton Moir. This also relates to the collections’ relationships in the 20th century with comparative technology and ethnology: for example, Beatrice Blackwood’s pioneering exercises in ethnoarchaeology remain unpublished and unstudied, as does Henry Balfour’s study of Tasmanian stone tool technology. Alongside such fieldwork, the large surface-collected assemblages from Australia require a sustained programme of identification and analysis to define specific research priorities.
As well as the history of archaeology in the region, the collections hold much of interest for the prehistory and historical archaeology of Oceania. The unstudied nature of the collections, and their formation during the 19th and early 20th centuries, makes it difficult to do more than point to potential here. For example, the PRM holds no recorded examples of Lapita pottery, although the ceramic collections are virtually unstudied and so previously unidentified examples may well exist. Similarly, the many carved stone balls and stone figures undoubtedly hold great potential, as well as the large quantities of stone tools. While the stone figures from Easter Island are clearly significant, objects from elsewhere in the region remain unstudied. The sheer scale of the Tasmanian stone tool collections mark them out as unique internationally – a situation that has been recognized for more than fifty years (Plomley 1961: 222), but has not affected the fact that they remain unstudied and unpublished. And so on. Moreover, the PRM collections from Oceania were formed before the dominance of cultural-evolutionary models in the archaeology of the region (Sahlins 1958, Goldman 1970) – and so the curatorial focus on technology and material form and type that shaped the formation of the collections has created a resource of great potential for contemporary concerns with the study of material culture in world archaeology. It is this sense of the importance of material form that connects contemporary archaeological concerns with the curatorial work of Henry Balfour, and that constitutes the great immediate research value of the Oceania collections.
I am grateful to Chris Gosden for his comments on the PRM collections from Papua New Guinea, and to Matthew Spriggs for his comments on the collections from Oceania as a whole.
Anon 1935. Stone Age peoples of the Mount Hagen Area Mandated Territory of New Guinea: summary of a communication presented by Michael Leahy five November 1935. Man 35: 185–186.
Balfour, H. 1888. On the evolution of a characteristic pattern on the shafts of arrows from the Solomon Islands. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 17: 328–332.
Balfour, H. 1889. Exhibition of arrows from the Solomon Islands. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 18: 30.
Balfour, H. 1903. On the method employed by the Natives of N.W. Australia in the manufacture of glass spear-heads. Man 3: 65.
Balfour, H. 1905. Bird and human designs from the Solomon Islands, illustrating the influence of one design over another. Man 5: 81–83.
Balfour, H. 1915. Note on a new kind of fish-hook from Goodenough Island, d'Entrecasteaux Group, New Guinea. Man 15: 17.
Balfour, H. 1925. The status of the Tasmanians among the stone-age peoples. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia 5(1): 1–15.
Balfour, H. 1929. Stone implements of the Tasmanians and the culture-status which they suggest. Report of the Hobart Meeting 1928 (Hobart, Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science), pp. 314–322.
Blackwood, B. 1935. Both Sides of the Buka Passage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Blackwood, B. 1939. Life on the upper Watut, New Guinea. Geographical Journal 94(1): 11–24.
Blackwood, B. 1950. Technology of a Modern Stone Age People in New Guinea. Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum (Occasional Papers on Technology 3).
Bulmer, R. and S. Bulmer 1962. Figurines and other stones of power among the Kyaka of central New Guinea. Journal of the Polynesian Society 71(2): 192–208.
Buschmann, R. 2000. Exploring tensions in material culture: commercialising ethnography in German New Guinea, 1870–1904. In M. O’Hanlon and R.L. Welsch (eds) Hunting the Gatherers: ethnographic collectors, agents and agency in Melanesia, 1870s–1930s. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 55–80.
Buschmann, R. 2009. Anthropology's Global Histories: The Ethnographic Frontier in German New Guinea, 1870–1935. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
Carter, E.A., M.D. Hargreaves, N. Kononenko, I. Graham, H.G.M. Edwards, B. Swarbrick and R. Torrence 2009. Raman Spectroscopy Applied to Understanding Prehistoric Obsidian Trade in the Pacific Ocean. Vibrational Spectroscopy 50: 116–124.
Chignell, A.K. 1909. An Outpost in Papua. London: Smith., Elder and Co.
Christian, F.W. 1899a. The Caroline Islands: travel in the sea of the little lands. London: Methuen & Co.
Christian, F.W. 1899b. Exploration in the Caroline Islands. Geographical Journal 13(2): 105–131.
Christian, F.W. 1899c. On Micronesian Weapons, Dress, Implements, etc. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 28: 288–306.
Coote, J. 2004a. An interim report on a previously unknown collection from Cook’s first voyage: the Christ Church collection at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Journal of Museum Ethnography 16: 111–121.
Coote, J. 2004b. Curiosities from the Endeavour: a forgotten collection. Pacific artefacts given by Joseph Banks to Christ Church, Oxford after the first voyage. Whitby: Captain Cook Memorial Museum.
Coote, J., C. Knowles, N. Meister and A. Petch 1999. Computerising the Forster (‘Cook’), Awawe, and founding collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Pacific Arts 19/20: 48–80.
Coote, J., P. Gathercole and N. Meister, T. Rogers and F. Midgley 2000. “Curiosities sent to Oxford”: The original documentation of the Forster Collection at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Journal of the History of Collections 6(2): 177–192.
Crane, M.D. 1983. Samuel Stutchbury (1798–1859), naturalist and geologist. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 37: 189–200.
Davidson, J. and F. Leach 1991. Bird-man amulets and Tricacna shell discs from Taumako, Solomon Islands. In A. Pawley (ed.) Man and a Half: essays in Pacific anthropology and ethnobiology in honour of Ralph Bulmer. Auckland: Polynesian Society (Polynesian Society Memoir 48), pp. 478–483.
Delair, J.B. 1981. Ernest Westlake 1855–1922, geologist and prehistorian with a synopsis of his field notebooks. Geological Curator 13 (2/3): 133–152.
Delair, J.B. 1985. Ernest Westlake 1855–1922 founder member of the Hampshire Field Club. Hampshire Field Club Archaeological Society 41: 37–44.
Duncan, P.B. 1836. A Catalogue of the Ashmolean Museum: descriptive of the soological specimens, antiquities, coins, and miscellaneous curiosities. Oxford: S. Collingwood.
Edge-Partington, J. and T. A. Joyce 1904. Note on funerary ornaments from Rubiana and a coffin from St. Anna, Solomon Islands. Man 4: 129–131.
Elkin, A.P. 1948. Pressure flaking in the Northern Kimberley, Australia. Man 48: 110–113.
Etheridge, R. and T. Whitelegge 1907. Aboriginal workshops on the coast of New South Wales, and their contents. Records of the Australian Museum 6(4): 233–250.
Figueroa, G. and E. Sánchez 1965. Adzes from certain islands of eastern Polynesia. In T. Heyerdahl and E. Ferdon (eds) Reports of the Norwegian Archaeological Expedition to Easter Island and the East Pacific Vol. 2: Miscellaneous Papers. London: George Allen and Unwin, pp. 169–254.
Fleure, H.J. 1941. Alfred Cort Haddon, 1855–1940. Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society 3(9): 448–465.
Gamble, C. and T. Moutsiou 2011. The time revolution of 1859 and the stratification of the primeval mind. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 65(1): 43–63.
Gill, W.W. 1894. From Darkness to Light in Polynesia: with illustrative clan songs. London: Religious Tract Society.
Goldman, I. 1970. Ancient Polynesian Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gosden, C. and C. Knowles 2001. Collecting Colonialism: material culture and colonial change. Oxford: Berg.
Grüning E.L. 1937. Notes on burial caves in the Cook Group, South Pacific. Ethnologia Cranmorensis 1: 21–25.
Gunson, N. 1972. Gill, William Wyatt (1828–1896). In Australian Dictionary of Biography (Volume 4). Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/gill-william-wyatt-3615/text5615 (Accessed 19 June 2012).
Harrison, R. 2000 ‘Nowadays with glass’: regional variation in Aboriginal bottle glass artefacts from Western Australia. Archaeology in Oceania 35(1): 34–47.
Harrison, R. 2002. Archaeology and the colonial encounter: Kimberley spear points, cultural identity and masculinity in the north of Australia. Journal of Social Archaeology 2(3): 352–377.
Harrison, R. 2003 ‘The magical virtue of these sharp things’: mimesis, colonialism and knapped bottle glass artefacts in Australia. Journal of Material Culture 8(3): 311–336.
Harrison, R. 2011. Consuming colonialism: curio dealers’ catalogues, souvenir objects and indigenous agency in Oceania. In S. Byrne, A. Clarke, R. Harrison and R. Torrence (eds) Unpacking the Collection: networks of material and social agency in the Museum. New York: Springer, pp. 55–82.
Heyerdahl, T. and E. Ferdon (eds) 1961. Reports of the Norwegian archaeological expedition to Easter Island and the east Pacific Vol. 1: The archaeology of Easter Island. London: George Allen and Unwin.
Heyerdahl, T. 1965. The statues of the oipona Me'ae, with a comparative analysis of possibly related stone monuments. In T. Heyerdahl and E. Ferdon (eds) Reports of the Norwegian Archaeological Expedition to Easter Island and the East Pacific. Vol. 2: Miscellaneous Papers. London: George Allen and Unwin, pp. 123–151.
Kaeppler, A.L. 1971. Eighteenth-Century Tonga: New Interpretations of the Tongan Society and Material Culture at the Time of Captain Cook. Man six (2): 204-220.
Knowles, C. 2000. Reverse trajectories: Beatrice Blackwood as collector and anthropologist. In M. O’Hanlon and R.L. Welsch (eds) Hunting the Gatherers: ethnographic collectors, agents and agency in Melanesia, 1870s–1930s. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 251–272.
Leahy, M. 1936. The Central Highlands of New Guinea. Geographical Journal 87(3): 229–260.
McCarthy, F.D. 1948. The Lapstone Creek excavation: two culture periods revealed in eastern New South Wales. Records of the Australian Museum 22(1): 1–34.
Morphy, H. and E. Edwards (eds) 1998. Australia in Oxford. Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum (Pitt Rivers Monograph 4).
Moseley, H.N. 1877. On the inhabitants of the Admiralty Islands. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 6: 379–429.
Moseley, H.N. 1892. Notes by a Naturalist: an account of observations made during the voyages of HMS Challenger. London: John Murray.
Murray, T. 1992. Tasmania and the constitution of the dawn of humanity. Antiquity 66: 730–743.
Noetling, F. 1907a. Some implements of the Tasmanian aborigines. Tasmanian Naturalist 1(3): 1–6.
Noetling, F. 1907b. Notes on the amorpholithes of the Tasmanian Aborigines. Tasmanian Naturalist 1(2): 14–19.
Noetling, F. 1907c. Notes on the Tasmanian amorpholithes. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 1–37.
Noetling, F. 1908. The Aboriginal designations for stone implements. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 60–67.
Oldman, W.O. 2004a. The Oldman Collection of Maori Artifacts (with an introduction by R. Neich and J. Davidson. Auckland: Polynesian Society (new edition of Polynesian Society Memoir 14).
Oldman, W.O. 2004b. The Oldman Collection of Polynesian Artifacts (with an introduction by R. Neich and J. Davidson. Auckland: Polynesian Society (new edition of Polynesian Society Memoir 15).
Penny, H.G. 2000. Science and the marketplace: the creation and contentious sale of the Museum Godeffroy. Journal of the Pacific Arts Association 21/22: 7–22.
Petch, A. and R. Taylor 2008. Balfour, Westlake and stone tools from Tasmania. http://england.prm.ox.ac.uk/englishness-Balfour-Westlake-and-Tasmania.html.
Plomley, N.J.B. 1961. Tasmanian Aboriginal material in collections in Europe. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 91(2): 221–227.
Plomley, N.J.B. 1991. The Westlake Papers, Records of Interviews in Tasmania, 1908-1910. Launceston: Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Occasional Paper 4).
Routledge, W.S. and K. Routledge 1921. Notes on some archaeological remains in the Society and Austral Islands. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 51: 438–455.
Sahlins, M.D. 1958. Social Stratification in Polynesia. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Seligmann, C.G. 1905. Further Note on the Progress of the Cook-Daniels Expedition to New Guinea. Man 5: 52-53.
Seligmann, C.G. 1912. Stone adze blades from Suloga (British New Guinea) as Chinese antiquities. Man 12: 72.
Seligmann, C.G. and W. Mersh Strong 1906a. Anthropogeographical Investigations in British New Guinea. Geographical Journal 27(3): 225-242.
Seligmann, C.G. and W. Mersh Strong 1906b. Anthropogeographical Investigations in British New Guinea (continued). Geographical Journal 27(4): 347-365.
Skjölsvold, A. 1965. The ceremonial enclosure of Te rae Rae with brief notes on additional marae. In T. Heyerdahl and E. Ferdon (eds) Reports of the Norwegian Archaeological Expedition to Easter Island and the East Pacific Vol. 2: Miscellaneous Papers. London: George Allen and Unwin, pp. 97–107.
Smith, J.A. 1876. Additional notes on small ornamented stone balls found in different parts of Scotland, etc. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 1: 313–319.
Strathern, M. 1990. Artefacts of history: events and the interpretation of images. In J. Siikala (ed.) Culture and History in the Pacific. Helsinki: Finnish Anthropological Society (Proceedings of the Finnish Anthropological Society 27), pp. 25–44.
Strathern, M. 1992. The decomposition of an event. Cultural Anthropology 7(2): 244–253.
Taylor, R. 2012. A journey of 13,033 stones: the Westlake collection and papers. Collections 8(1): 7–37.
Thomas, N. 1991. Entangled Objects: exchange, material culture and colonialism in the Pacific. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Torrence, R. 2000. Just another trader? An archaeological perspective on European barter with Admiralty Islanders, Papua New Guinea. In R. Torrence and A. Clarke (eds) The Archaeology of Difference: negotiating cross-cultural engagements in Oceania. London: Routledge, pp. 104–141.
Torrence, R. and A. Clarke 2011. ‘Suitable for the decoration of halls and billiard rooms’: finding indigenous agency in historic auction and sale catalogues. In S. Byrne, A. Clarke, R. Harrison and R. Torrence (eds) Unpacking the Collection: networks of material and social agency in the Museum. New York: Springer, pp. 29–54.
Tylor, E. B. 1890. Preface. In H. Ling Roth The Aborigines of Tasmania. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co, pp. v–xv.
Tylor, E. B. 1893. On the Tasmanians as representatives of Palaeolithic man. Journal of the Anthropological Institute 23: 141–152.
Tylor, E.B. 1895. On the occurrence of ground stone implements of Australian type in Tasmania. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 24: 335–340.
Tylor, E. B. 1898. The survival of palaeolithic conditions in Tasmania and Australia, with special reference to the unground stone implements in Western Australia. Journal of the Anthropological Institute 28: 199.
Tylor, E. B. 1900. On stone implements from Tasmania. Journal of the Anthropological Institute 30: 257–262.
Waite, D. 1984. The H. B. T. Somerville collection of artefacts from the Solomon Islands in the Pitt Rivers Museum. In B.A.L. Cranstone and S. Seidenberg (eds) The General’s Gift: A Celebration of the Pitt Rivers Museum Centenary, 1884–1984. Oxford: Anthropological Society of Oxford (JASO Occasional Papers, no. 3), pp. 41–52.
Waite, D. 2011. Sreumbule/Vovoso and Other Sticks with Shell Valuables: Part of a Dialectic with Barava Openwork Plaques. Pacific Arts. 11(2): 19-35.
Wake, C.S. 1871. Tribal affinities among the Aborigines of Australia. Journal of the Anthropological Society of London 8: xiii–xxxii.
Walter, R. and P. Sheppard 2009. A review of Solomon Island archaeology. In P.J. Sheppard, T. Thomas and G.R. Summerhayes (eds) Lapita: Ancestors and Descendants. Auckland: New Zealand Archaeological Association (New Zealand Archaeological Association Monograph 28), pp. 35–72.
Waterfield, H. and J.C.H. King 2006. Provenance: twelve collectors of ethnographic art in England 1760–1990. Paris: Somogy Art Publishers.
Westlake, E. 1888. Tabular Index to the Upper Cretaceous Fossils of England and Ireland. Fordingbridge: T. Mitchell.
Wood, C.F. 1875. A Yachting Cruise in the South Seas. London: H.S. King and Co.
Woodford, C.M. 1905. Further note on funerary ornaments from the Solomon Islands. Man 5: 38–39.