16. Report of the Curator of the Pltt Rivers Museum (Department of Ethnology) for the year endlng 31 July 1954
Curator: T.K. Penniman, M.A., Trinity College.
University Demonstrators and Lecturers in Ethnology: B.M. Blackwood, B.Sc., M.A., Somerville College; J. S. P. Bradford, M.A., Christ Church; W.C. Brice, M.A., Jesus College.
Librarian and Secretary: R.C. Gurden.

In spite of severe and prolonged dislocation of our programme by work on the new Chemistry building to the south of the Museum, considerable progress has been made during the year, especially in long-term projects, rather than in alterations making an immediate appeal to the public. Not only have we been cut off from an adequate road for materials and apparatus, but for a long time the Department was cut off completely from its storage buildings by deep trenches and erections necessary to connect the boiler house with the new building, so that teaching was hindered, and the interaction between storage and exhibition ceased. This, and the lack of opportunity to build new storage cupboards and fittings, prevented us from continuing our programme of modernizing many of our exhibitions at anything like the rate of previous years. Moreover, the work caused some flooding of the room which holds the card catalogue, lantern-slides, and stationery, and this again caused delay in carrying out new work.

However, the time was right, and members of the staff were ready, to establish what we have long needed, a small laboratory for the analysis of specimens, both for deciding what is the best method to ensure their preservation or restoration, and for their publication as opportunity arises. Mr. K. H. H. Walters proposed the clearance of about half the entrance-lobby on the south side, and Mr. I.M. Allen, our analyst, decided with him that for satisfactory and rapid results the two of them should do the work together. Accordingly, they built a dust-proof room with double walls and a fan, and built or built-in installations to accommodate a hardometer, a polisher, two microscopes, one for biological and one for metallographic work and other opaque materials, and a microchemical balance. Work is proceeding on the installation of various accessories, so that by the time our next report is due, we shall be able to undertake the bulk of all the work of this kind needed by the Museum both for our publications and for the safe custody of our collections. Already a good deal of work can be done, even before completion of the full programme, as later parts of the report will show. This small laboratory is a good example of the importance of giving young people opportunity to gain instruction according to their interests, and giving them a free hand to develop and carry out their interests. The time spent brings reward to the Museum in good work, well done, and at considerably less expense than would be required if done by outside people. Moreover, we can deal at once with exactly what we need, as members of the staff know intimately what is often difficult to explain to outside people, and are devoted to the Museum and its progress.

A special example of good work during the year has been the repair and restoration of a splendid large model of a Burmese river boat by Mr. H. F. Walters. This was given by Captain (later Sir Richard) Temple, one of the most generous donors in the history of the Museum, in 1889, but was stored, as it would not go into any even of the biggest cases in the Museum. During the late war, it suffered a good deal by the hands of unauthorized persons, because we were not allowed to keep any rooms locked for fear of fires which might be started by enemy action. Fortunately, Captain Temple had given us a large photograph of the kind of boat from which our specimen was modelled, and with this Mr. Walters was able to transform the poor derelict into its former self. As it was now well worth showing, Mr. Walters built a case to display it, prefabricating the case in the workshop. Mr. Gurden and the Curator made many measurements, and arranged for a general post of cases already in position, planning for the least possible dislocation, and the case was assembled in the place where it was to go, taking both Captain Temple's boat, and one collected by General Pitt Rivers. Oddly enough, the inclusion of the largest floor-case ever built in the Museum left us with more room than we had before in which to display the collections.

Another restoration which has given us much pleasure was that of the virginal made by Marcus Jadra in 1552. This instrument, formerly in Canon Galpin's collection, was put into perfect playing order by Mr. Robert Goble of Headington, and is, so far as we know, the only surviving pentagonal virginal on which the first Queen Elizabeth could easily play the music she knew if she returned to earth today.

While working on a rearrangement of craftsmen's tools for Mr. Bradford, Mr. Allen called the Curator's attention to the fact that there were probably several complete sets of such tools, and that a comparative arrangement of such complete sets might be illuminating. The card catalogue showed that this was indeed true, and Mr. Allen collected the scattered sets, and arranged an exhibition in one of the wall bays in the Middle Gallery, making the arrangement spacious, so as to allow for the inclusion of more detailed labels as time allows, and also to incorporate any other sets which we may acquire. The exhibition shows that we are richest in Asiatic sets, except for China, and that we need European sets badly. For example, we very much want a pole lathe to go with our excellent specimens of bow and thong lathes. It seems likely that comparisons of complete sets are going to be more rewarding in the long run than the earlier comparison of individual tools in the study of history and distributions. Among English craftsmen's tools, the best sets we have are of saddler's and harness-maker's, partly collected by Miss Blackwood some years ago in Teynham, Kent, and partly by Mr. Allen in Oxford. Mr. Allen has arranged these, and prepared descriptive labels, as he did for the Asiatic carpenter's, wood-turner's, and metal-worker's sets.

Besides new exhibitions and ventures, time has been found for the revision and improvement of earlier exhibitions, together with the consequent revision of stored material, a matter of more importance to the Museum than what is on view, both for the benefit of students, and to save the time and preserve the good temper of the staff. Mr. Brice has rearranged the large wall cases exhibiting varieties of looms and weaving appliances, ceremonial staves, and methods of fishing, as well as the case showing self-bows from various parts of the world, while Mr. Bradford arranged for the gift of a collection of Sudanese pottery sent by the Sudan Museum. This was a valuable accession which enabled him to complete the arrangement of a large case in the Court, giving a comparative series of ancient, recent, and modern pottery from the Sudan, Nubia, and Egypt, and demonstrating the continuance of ancient pottery techniques and methods of decoration to the present day.

Mr. H.F. Walters either carried out or supervised the redecoration of all these cases, including the fixing of specimens in position, and made a rearrangement in the iron house to allow the addition of about twenty large cupboards, of which he has already built seven. The surveyor moved two small wooden buildings of ours from the site allocated to Chemistry to a position west of the iron house, and Mr. Walters has fitted these to relieve the congestion of the Court, and allow us to continue with much needed revision and improvement of exhibited material. Mr. K.H.H. Walters has improved the working and storage conditions in the dark-rooms under his charge by fitting ventilators and heat-reflecting screens into window-shutters, and so helping to keep the temperature within reasonable bounds.

Here, however, as in many other parts of the Museum, the difficulties under which we work will not be satisfactorily overcome until we have a modern building suitable for some of our activities, and really safe for keeping certain of our collections. In an ethnological collection the ephemeral becomes eternal, and preserving the ephemera of history for future generation is a constant difficulty in old-fashioned buildings which allow extremes of temperature. Moreover, overcrowding of objects which should be kept separate from each other is a constant cause of disintegration. Another hindrance is that we have no room except the public galleries to use for practical classes, so that the entire staff is occupied during term for nearly three whole days a week in taking out, setting up, and clearing away from the public rooms specimens for about 60 students.

Number 7 of our Occasional Papers on Technology has gone to press, and will probably be nearly ready to publish by the time that this report appears. Hair Embroidery in Siberia and North America by Mr. G. E. S. Turner traces the use of moose and reindeer (including caribou) hair as a decorative medium from the Yenisei River by way of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands to northern New England, and discusses the interaction of native and European artistic styles on the craft. In addition there is a chapter on the technique and distribution of coiled horse-hair work. Over twenty techniques are analysed and illustrated, and criteria are given for the definitive identification of the various hairs and for avoiding their all too frequent confusion with porcupine quills. On the historical side there is a reassessment of two well-known specimens, one Huron and one Iroquois, from the collection of Sir Hans Sloane, now in the British Museum. The paper concludes with a tentative discussion of the relationship between hair work and quill work. The specimens illustrated date from 1709 to 1953.

Generous assistance has been given by many people in both Europe and America during the past year, but special thanks are due to Sister Beatrice Leduc, of the Immaculate Conception School, Aklavik, Northwest Territories, and Dr. Randolph L. Peterson, of the Royal Ontario Museum of Zoology and Palaeontology, Toronto. Sister Beatrice carries on the craft of hair embroidery and gave valuable information on working methods, as well as specimens of selected moose and caribou hairs. Dr. Peterson drew attention to the technique of identifying hairs by examination of their cuticular scales from impressions taken in plastic film. This method, first developed by American zoologists and further described by Mr. H.V.V. Williamson of the Royal Ontario Museum, was found to be readily adaptable to ethnological purposes and provided a much-needed guide through the uneasy hinterland where moose hairs and porcupine guard hairs overlap in measurements and general appearance.

The book will run to between 85 and 90 pages, with 28 text figures and diagrams illustrating techniques and cuticular scale patterns of hair, and I6 pages of half-tone plates with a frontispiece, and will cost 15 shillings. By the time this report appears, it will no doubt be possible to send out a brief prospectus in our usual form.

Work is also far advanced on number 8 of the series, a book by Mr. H.H. Coghlan dealing with iron and the craft of the blacksmith from the earliest times to about A.D. 1000. Full explanation of all processes in the manufacture of such iron with illustrations of the tools and methods is accompanied by metallographic and metallurgical analyses with photographs and photomicrographs to show how much the iron-worker knew at various periods of history. So far, analyses have given us a skeleton outline of development from about 600 B.C. to A.D. 1000, and we are still collecting suitable iron to fill in various gaps in the record. In addition to those who helped us last year we have to thank Mr. W. F. Grimes and the Roman and Mediaeval London Excavation Council, Mr. W.A. Smallcombe, Director of the Museum and Art Gallery of Reading, Mr. G.H.S. Bushnell, Curator of the University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Univcrsity of Cambridge, Miss Olga Tufnell of the Wellcome-Marston Archaeological Research Expedition to the Near East, and Mr. H. St. George Gray, for supplying us with iron. The analyses are being done by Mr. T.H. Williams, Manager, Chemical Research, and Mr. P. Whitaker, Manager, Metallographic Research, of Messrs. Stewarts & Lloyds, Limited, of Corby, Northants., and we are most grateful to them for the interest and care with which they prepare their valuable illustrated reports.

This book will probably be published in 1956, as there are yet various specimens to be analysed, both to fill in gaps in the record, and to replace specimens incapable of yielding full results, and to allow Mr. K. H. H. Walters and Mr. I. M. Allen to prepare the numerous illustrations from widely scattered sources.

This year saw the publication of the latest and, sad to say, the last book by the late Sir Francis H.S. Knowles, Bt., on Stone Worker's Progress, a Study of Stone Implements in the Pitt Rivers Museum, as Number 6 of our Occasional Papers on Technology. It takes a valuable place in a series of publications which has gone into practically every country of the world except Communist China, bringing many useful periodicals in return and the help of many scholars, and has proved that there is a general desire for the presentation of technological processes in such a way that the reader, given suitable materials, can repeat the work, and obtain the results described. The series was deliberately described as Occasional, because each publication was designed to be the result of prolonged investigation and experiment, and the papers are on technological processes of interest to archaeologists and ethnologists partly because no other Museum has undertaken such a series, and partly because General Pitt Rivers and Professor Henry Balfour undertook this type of investigation in a Museum so founded and arranged that it demanded such work to be done.

The Curator has added just over 5,000 cards to the Subject Index, and Miss Blackwood has added about 5,000 cards, as well as duplicate cards for both Regional and Subject Indexes dealing with this year's accessions. She has also distributed these cards under their subjects and regions. The number of cards in the Index has reached about 300,000, many of the cards dealing with groups of objects, though there is a very large number of cards describing one object only. Mr. Gurden and the Curator continued their visits to the basement of the Examination Schools to list and describe objects there, and Mr. Gurden has nearly completed the card catalogue of Room 3 dealing with stone implements. Some few visits will be needed to this and the other two rooms to deal with a hard core of recalcitrant material before we are free of this nightrnare, and can simply send anyone straight to any object without feeling the duty to go ourselves to help him.

Work on the catalogue has so improved our knowledge of the collections that we can in the main confine accessions to new material, and especially, as opportunity arises, to objects of outstanding importance, and to collections giving a complete process or showing in full context the complete material culture of a people. A splendid example of this last is the collection made by our pupil, Miss Audrey Butt, representing the life of the Akowoio tribe of the Upper Mazaruni District in British Guiana, perfectly documented. Another good collection was that from Darfur in the Sudan, made by our former pupil, Mr.A. J. Arkell, as representative and well documented. Still another pupil, Mr. P.T.W. Baxter, made a very good collection from the Northern Frontier of Kenya, an area hitherto poorly represented in the Museum.

Mrs. H. G. Beasley continued her generous distribution of the collections of the Cranmore Museum, which was destroyed by enemy action during the late war. Miss Blackwood spent some days at the British Museum selecting material, as the opportunity to secure such specimens as those collected by the late Mr. H.G. Beasley, a scholar and connoisseur of the great days of collecting, is one unlikely to occur again. Among notable accessions were collections from Tibet, North America, and the Pacific. Among the objects already shown in the Library and the Museum are a Chinese bronze bowl of the Chin Dynasty, AD. 116-1260, a large decorated and inscribed silver rice-bowl from Malaya, a handsome Tibetan wall-hanging picturing the god of wealth, a carved wooden book-cover, a very rare example of a Tibetan lama's bone apron, elaborately carved, and superb feather head-dresses from Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands. A Huron belt of twined Indian hemp, ornamented with false embroidery in dyed moose hair, of the latter part of the eighteenth century will shortly be published in Number 7 of our Occasional Papers. Mr. Turner knows of three other examples only in this country, all in the British Museum.

Mrs. Elsie McDougall added still further facsimiles of ancient Mexican codices to our growing collection. This year she gave us a coloured facsimile of the Codex Zouche-Nuttall, a pre-Conquest manuscript, valuable for its information on ritual, domestic details, and various historical and chronological matter, a sepia facsimile of the Map of Zacatepec, a Mixtec painting on cloth giving roads, rivers, dates, names, portraits, and genealogies of chieftains of the area, and a sepia reproduction of the Codex Fernandez Leal, a pre-Conquest document painted on maguey paper, which appears to be a record of Mexican victories over the Zapotecs, and gives many interesting details of the life of the time. Thanks to Mrs. McDougall, we are now building up a good documentary collection for the study of ancient Mexico.

From time to time since she was captured in 1932 while helping the Sema Naga in their revolt, the Kabui sorceress Gaidiliu has been appearing in our reports. This remarkable woman, part of whose power rested in a supposed ability to write, yielded her stock of note-books to Mr. J. P. Mills in 1932. In 1953 we received her bracelets from Mrs. A.R. Nye. This year she appears as a priestess and as a goddess. In 1931 the Cachar Road Column with Mr. Mills and Mr. T.C. Higgins went to deal with the Kabui 'Messiah' named Jadonang, and his priestess Gaidiliu. In one of their temples in Kambiron Village, two painted clay statuettes, each two to three feet high, were found, bearing a strong resemblance to Jadonang and Gaidiliu, each well-clothed, and treated as a god and goddess, the idea being borrowed from Hindu rather than from Naga mythology. It is a great pity that discipline required the destruction of the god and goddess, but it is probable that if they had been sent to the Museum there would have been prolonged agitation to get back such highly regarded figures. However, we have their clothes, taken by Mr. Higgins, and now given by his wife. This is probably not the last that we shall hear of Gaidiliu, as a number of people appear to have treasured souvenirs of her career.

Among other interesting gifts has been a balanganda from Bahia in Brazil, from Mr. E. T. Leeds, together with a coloured picture of a woman wearing it on her hip. It is an affair like a silver chatelaine with two bars which open. On each from time to time have been hung silver birds, fishes, animals, pomegranates, grapes, keys, and various other objects, so that the whole weighs about two pounds and represents a sizeable amount of portable wealth. Apparently this piece of jewellery is well esteemed in Bahia. Mr. Turner calls our attention to a samba by Dorival Caymmi called 'Quê è que a bahiana tem?’ which mentions this object in the line 'a que não tem balangandães nao vai no Bomfim', which seems to imply that it is worn by every woman who aspires to be somebody. Other welcome gifts are a Churajón pot from Peru from Sir Walter Roberts, Burmese temple tiles of about A.D. 1200 from Mr. A. E. English, a rare Karen gong from Dr. Smyth, and Orkney and Shetland specimens and moulds for ex votos from Ireland, Belgium, and Malta, given by Mr. T.W. Bagshawe. Mr. J.A. Swan continued his series of gifts made over very many years to enrich our collections representing South African archaeology.

Among purchases we chiefly recall a very fine pair of ancient ritual shell bracelets from Choiseul in the Solomons from Mr. B.E. Crawfurd, and some charming Akamba stone and wooden carvings collected by our pupil Mrs. Knowles. A very interesting purchase, arranged by Mr. Allen, was of Mr. H.C.F. Bryan's collection, kindly sorted from his own shop, of a set of saddler's tools, both current and obsolete. Mr. Bryan's father was Saddler and Harness Maker to the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, and Mr. Bryan himself was maker of the lawn horse boot, a special boot worn by horses when mowing college lawns.

The Curator lectured in all three terms on 'Origins of Civilization', and continued to serve as Diploma Secretary for Anthropology and as Secretary to Heads of Science Departments. With Mr. Allen, he began making a selection of groups of bronze weapons and implements from each period of each country represented in the Museum, and Mr. Allen has begun complete metallographic and metallurgical examination of each. The results will ultimately appear on exhibition in the Museum, and in a book in our series by the Curator and Mr. Allen. Methods of removing small sections and of filling in to show no trace with a cold-worked material quite different from the original metal have been found, which do no present damage to the subjects, and cannot bring about any future deterioration. Work as editor was finished on Occasional Paper number 6, and continued on numbers 7 and 8. The Curator also cleared and distributed specimens in the way of the new laboratory, and spent a great deal of time in sorting and organizing stored objects to allow incorporation of material displaced by various rearranged exhibitions and to choose objects for such exhibitions, as well as to ensure the safety, good order, and easier consultation of the collections. A short course was arranged for students taking the Diploma of the Museums Association, and the Curator contributed a lecture on metallurgical exhibits in the Museum.

Apart from work on the catalogue, already mentioned, and assistance in editing Papers 6 and 7, Miss Blackwood lectured twice weekly in all three terms, and arranged and assisted in Practical Courses, both for students working for the Diploma in Anthropology, and for those taking ethnology in the Preliminary Examination for the Honour School of Geography, her subjects being 'Lands and Peoples', dealing with 'Hunters and Herders' in Michaelmas and 'Cultivators' in Hilary Terms, and in Trinity Term 'Aztec, Maya and Inca, and their Predecessors', and 'Material Culture of the Special Area for the Diploma'. She also gave a course for Colonial Service Cadets on 'Arts and Industries of British Africa', and a demonstration of ethnological techniques for the Diploma Course of the Museums Association, as well as a very large amount of assistance to various research workers. Besides undertaking the responsibility of making a selection from the Arkell and the Beasley collections, she labelled and entered these and many other specimens which came in during the year. She continued to serve on the Councils of the Royal Anthropological Institute and of the Folk-Lore Society.

In addition to activities already mentioned, and good progress in cataloguing air photographs, Mr. Bradford lectured in all three terms once weekly, and assisted in Practical Courses. In Michaelmas his subject was 'Nomad Empires of Asia', in Hilary 'City, Village and Field in Eastern Asia', and in Trinity 'The Study and Archaeology of Tribal Art'. He also gave a lecture for the Museums Association Diploma. Outside lectures were given to the Oxford Architectural and Historical Society on 'Archaeology from the Air in the Oxford Region, past Discoveries and future Prospects', and to the African History Seminar organized in the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London on 'Air Photography in African Archaeology'. He prepared two papers on 'Results of Aerial Research and Discovery at Classical Sites in Mediterranean Lands, 1953-4' for the Second International Congress of Classical Studies at Copenhagen in August 1954, and for the British Association Meeting in September. Besides reviews in The Times Literary Supplement, Antiquity, Museums Journal, and Journal of Hellenic Studies, he gave a B.B.C. talk on 'The Lost Continent of Atlantis', reprinted in the Listener and in London Calling, and as a chapter in Myth or Legend ?, Published by Messrs George Bell. He served as Chairman of Examiner for the Diploma in Anthropology and as Examiner in the Preliminary for the Honour School of Geography, and taught twenty different pupils ethnology for the Honour School.

Besides rearrangements of exhibitions already described, Mr. Brice lectured in each terrn once weekly and assisted in the Practical work. His subjects were 'Rural Economy of the Ancient Middle East', 'Commercial Traditions of S.W. Asia', and 'The Nomadic Tribes of Turkey' for the Diploma. For the School of Geography, he took part in the course of lectures on 'India and Pakistan', and as outside lectures he gave 'Turkey's Foreign Policy' for an Officers' Course arranged by the Army Education Corps, 'Turkey Today' to the International Service Committee of the Oxford Rotary Club, and 'The Pitt Rivers Museum' to the Oxford Youth Hostels Association. He also gave a demonstration of Stone Age techniques for the Diploma of the Museums Association. Among publications were 'Caravan Traffic across Asia', Antiquity, June 1954, and with Ahmet Donmez, 'A Water Jar, built without a Wheel, in the Kurdish Village of Dara', Man, 1953, no. 131. Reviews included H.J.R. Murray, 'A History of Board Games other than Chess', Man, 1953, 107; A. L. Kroeber, 'The Nature of Culture', Man, 1953, 236; S. Tax (and others), 'An Appraisal of Anthropology Today', Man, 1953, 237; R. H. Pearce, 'The Savages of America', Man, 1953, 25I; H. Kuhn, 'Die Felsbilder Europas', Man, 1954, 15; E. Colson, 'The Makah Indians', The Times Literary Supplement, Oct. 1953; M. Griaule and G. Dieterlen, 'Signes graphiques soudanais', and G. Boris, 'Documents linguistiques et ethnographiques sur une région du Sud Tunisien (Nefzaoua)', both in Erasmus, Feb. 1954. He supervised one D.Phil. student, and taught twenty-two students in ethnology for the Preliminary Examination for the Honour School of Geography.

Mr. Gurden managed all of the general routine of administration, dealing with payment of wages and keeping of accounts and presentation to the auditors, general correspondence, bibliographies for lectures, cataloguing of negatives and books, supervision of the Library and readers, exchange of our Occasional Papers for other periodicals, and their sale, and found time to assist the Curator extensively in the sorting and arrangement of specimens, and in making a card catalogue of collections in the Examination Schools. He has a wide and accurate knowledge of the collections and considerable ability in detecting and correcting past errors.

In the Photographic Studio and Drawing Room, Mr. K.H.H. Walters has taken 173 photographs, and made 406 prints and II5 lantern-slides, his work including all of the photography for Occasional Papers 6 and 7 and a start on Number 8. As usual, he served as lanternist at all lectures. Mr. Allen has done and is doing the drawing for the text figures in the same volumes. For Mr. Turner's book, Number 7, he made the impressions of the hairs of moose, caribou, reindeer, wapiti, mountain sheep, and porcupine in plastic film, and drew the microscopic appearance of their cuticular scale patterns. In drawing the technical details of kinds of embroidery for Mr. Turner's paper he had the help of the author's models in cord. As work on our own publications increases, and other activities of the Museum develop, we find that demands on the Photographic Studio and Drawing Room fill so much of the time available that we have needed severely to curtail such work for persons outside the Museum, and undertake only a very limited amount of work other than our own.

Mr. A. Wootton joined H.M. Forces on National Service on I October 1953 for two years, and is now stationed in Germany. While he enjoys his life in the Army, where he is getting on well, he writes regularly to us of the work he will be doing when he returns. We shall be very glad to have him with us again, as he is very enthusiastic about new developments here, and pulls his weight in the work of carrying them out.

The newest and youngest member of our Technical Staff, Mr. R. P. Rivers, has shown himself adept at the skilful cleaning of armour and various delicate objects, and a good pupil in work of restoration; he has also been most helpful in the general work of routine inspection and treatment of specimens, and keeping everything clean and in good order. He will receive the same teaching as all of our apprentices, both in our own classes and outside, and will have opportunity to develop special aptitudes.

Mr. F.J. Nipress, the oldest member of our staff, remains the most lively and ingenious of us, cheerfully dealing with all visitors, and has an unrivalled knowledge of the area round us and of Oxford, including an ability to find what we need when the usual shops no longer supply it.

We regret to announce the deaths of Professor Sir John Myres, the last survivor of the founders of our Diploma in Anthropology, and of Professor Earnest Hooton, of Harvard, one of our earliest pupils, both good friends of the Museum over many years. An obituary of Sir John Myres by Mr. Bradford appeared in Nature for April 1954, and of Professor Hooton by Miss Blackwood in Nature for 29 May 1954.

 During the year there were 9102 visitors to the Museum, including over 1200 children from 44 schools.


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