20. Report of the Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum (Department of Ethnology and Prehistory) for the year ending 31 July 1965

Curator: B.E.B. Fagg, M.A., Fellow of Linacre College.
University Lecturers: A.J. Butt, M.A., D.Phil., Lady Margaret Hall, K.O.L. Burridge, M.A., Fellow of St. Cross College (Ethnology); D. Britton, M.A., Fellow of St. Cross College, D.F.W. Baden-Powell, M.A., Oriel College (Prehistory).
Secretary and Librarian: H.P.G., Unsworth.
Assistant Secretary-Librarian: Miss E. Torr.
Technical and General: K.H. Walters (Principal Technician), R.P. Rivers, R.W. Sword (Senior Technicians), Miss R.E.H. Harrison (Technician-photographer), F.J. Nipress, Mrs. M.E. Fowler.

To a museum visitor during the period under review the most noticeable feature has been the continuous presence of builders and other craftsmen engaged first on structural alterations and later on extensive maintenance work, repairs, and installations. It has nevertheless been possible to keep the museum open to the public in spite of the inevitable inconvenience caused by the building operations.

In the meantime further progress has been made in planning the new museum as well as in moving the reserve collections to temporary storage in Parks Road, thus making way for improvements to the academic and technical accommodation of the Department.

Mr. D.F.W. Baden-Powell, M.A., of Oriel College, retired at the end of Trinity Term, 1965, and Mr. D.A. Roe has been appointed by the Faculty Board to succeed him. It is a pleasure to record that Mr. Baden-Powell is continuing with his research work both in the Pitt Rivers Museum and in the Department of Geology. His unrivalled knowledge of and enthusiasm for palaeolithic and related studies will therefore still be readily available for the benefit of advanced students.

Plans for the new museum
The Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries reported to the University in January on the preliminary plans submitted by the Faculty Board and these were carefully re-examined during the Hilary and Trinity Terms by a combined working party, by the Building and Development Committee, the General Board of the Faculties, and the Hebdomadal Council.

A preliminary architectural appreciation of the utilization of the proposed site in the area east of the Banbury Road has been prepared to show how the museum and associated institutions could be accommodated on it.

Modifications and repairs to present buildings
The construction of the new display gallery was completed by the Surveyor’s Department. The interior walls and part of the exterior of the new gallery are made with vertical planks of Parana pine and the floor is covered with rush matting, a combination which makes a satisfactory foil for most types of ethnographic display. There is a false ceiling of ‘egg-crate’ construction suspended about 5 feet below the floor joists of the lower gallery, providing convenient access to the lighting points.
The manufacture of display cases and of a satisfactorily flexible system of flood lights and spotlights was accomplished by the technical staff of the museum. An easily removable wall of panelling makes it possible to isolate the gallery from the rest of the museum while displays are changed. All glass cases can easily be dismantled and re-arranged without difficulty.

During the construction of the new exhibition gallery a revision of the security system was begun within the modest financial resources available. Further funds were subsequently provided following the theft of 191 Japanese netsuke and other ornaments (for which a man has been arrested and is awaiting trial), and a modern system was devised and put into operation.
A small strong room was installed for the storage of valuable specimens and expensive equipment and for the temporary custody of specimens loaned to the museum for special exhibitions.
Of greater significance for the safety of the collections was the installation throughout the museum buildings of the Minerva system of automatic smoke-detectors, which give more complete protection against fire risk to such inflammable specimens than any other equipment yet devised.
Routine redecoration of the exterior protective paintwork revealed serious defects in the main roof which necessitated a complete overhaul as well as repairs to the exterior brickwork of the gable ends, replacement of rotten leaded lights, and extensive joinery repairs.
Internal scaffolding was installed resting on support girders launched through the roof by the removal of every sixth pane of glass in the roof lights on both sides of the roof. This dangerous operation had to be preceded by the provision of nylon safety nets stretched across the entire court at lover gallery level.
The onset of exceedingly wet weather in mid-summer while the roof repairs were in progress made it necessary to cover the safety nets with polythene sheeting and provide further protective sheeting and tarpaulins to cover many of the cases below. By these means it was possible to keep damage to cases to an acceptable minimum, but damage by flood water to the specimens themselves was averted only by a member of the technical staff spending three exhausting weeks on night duty inside the building. The supervisory staff of the University Surveyor’s Department dealt during daylight hours with these aggravating emergencies with commendable patience and energy.
While the scaffolding was in position the opportunity was taken to give the timber ceiling of the main roof its first coat of paint since 1884 and to reopen the ventilating panels which had been sealed off many years before, thus causing severe overheating during the summer. Arrangements have also been made to apply an ultra-violet filter to the roof lights to prevent further damage to the collections by direct sunlight.
To provide augmented storage space and to allow for the expansion of the academic and technical accommodation at the museum, the temporary occupation was approved of No. 18 Parks Road. Plans were prepared and funds approved for the conversion of the existing storage shed to provide a small lecture theatre and demonstration room with stores, combined photographic studio and drawing office, dark rooms and laboratory for chemical and mechanical treatment.
The separation of the storage galleries from the main museum is of course a very serious inconvenience but this has been minimized by the provision of a Commer 15-cwt. Van, which was purchased for only four-fifths of the estimated cost of the initial transportation of the specimens by removal contractors. The stored collections are now being moved by the technical staff of the museum after which the van will provide an indispensable shuttle service between the museum and the stores whenever specimens are required for study, conservation, or display.
Off-peak electric storage heaters installed in No. 18 Parks Road provide rather less deleterious storage conditions than obtained in the unheated corrugated iron shed and the rest of the building has been rewired to provide lighting and conventional power points. It is hoped that the new museum will be built in time to obviate a second temporary removal of the reserve collection.
It is satisfactory to record that a 3-inch tempered steel nail, which was fired from a ‘Tornado’ hammer into a cast-iron beam (in the belief that it was a rolled steel joist!) and passed straight through ricochetting into the centre of the Court, missed the Curator and a museum visitor by rather less than 30 feet before penetrating a plate-glass showcase without inflicting damage on the specimens inside.
All modifications to and maintenance of the existing museum have been conceived and executed on the basis of strict economy, consistent with the intention to move the museum to a new site as soon as possible.

Academic Activities
The four new diplomas in Anthropology and Prehistoric Archaeology, replacing the former Diplomas in Anthropology, came into being at the beginning of the academic year. Teaching for the diplomas in Ethnology and Prehistoric Archaeology (for which this department is responsible), in spite of the anticipated shortage of applicants, went smoothly, the lectures and classes attracting a number of students who were not formally registered for diplomas. Experience suggests that there will be a gradually increasing number of applicants to take these diplomas, which fill a need not easily satisfied elsewhere. Discussions on the possibility of participation in a Honours School structure (whether at ‘Part II’ or ‘Part I and Part II’ levels) proceeded hopefully throughout the year.
The Curator lectured and held classes in the Michaelmas and Trinity Terms on the material culture of Africa. He gave a public lecture on ‘African Sculpture beyond the Garamantian Limits to the Bight of Benin’ in the archaeological series: ‘On the Periphery of the Classical World.’ He was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship for archaeological field research in the Northern Region of Nigeria and received grants from the British Academy and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. He served on the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Executive Committee of the International Council of Museums.
Dr. A.J. Butt provided courses of lectures on Lands and Peoples (the Americas and Africa) in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms and gave tutorials, seminars, and practical on material culture throughout the year, including a practical course in field research methods in the Trinity Term.
In co-operation with Mr. F. Huxley (St. Catherine’s College) she gave a series of seminars on Latin American social anthropological topics in Hilary and Trinity Terms. External lectures on ‘Shamanism’ and ‘South American Indian economies and settlement patterns’ were given to the Department of Extra-mural Studies and to the Royal Geographical Society.
    Dr. Butt served on the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Exploration Committee of the Royal Geographical Society, and the Committee of the Society for Latin American Studies. She attended the XXXVI International Congress of Americanists in Spain as the Representative of the University of Oxford. In addition to reviews and the preparation of ethnological articles for the press, she published an article on ‘Prophet Cult’ for the colour supplement of the Sunday Times.
Mr. K.O.L. Burridge gave his course of lecturers on Land and Peoples (Asia and Oceania) in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms and practical classes throughout the year. He also, provided a lecture course on the Study of Myth.
He gave tutorial supervision for advanced student, for the diploma, and for candidates for the Ethnology option in the Preliminary examination for the School of Geography, for which he was also Moderator. He was Secretary for the Diploma in Ethnology as well as Examiner. There was one candidate, whose performance gave cause for satisfaction that the first year’s course had been conducted on the right lines.
Mr Burridge was Secretary of the Sub-Faculty of Anthropology, President of the Oxford Anthropological Society, and a member of the Board of the Faculty of Anthropology and Geography.
In addition to reviews his publications included: ‘Tangu Religion’ in Gods, Ghosts and men in Melanesia, Melbourne, 1965. “Culture and Personality” and History: A Review.’ Journal of World History, vol. IX, no. 1. 1965. ‘Independent Malta.’ The Round Table, December 1964.
Mr. Baden-Powell gave his customary series of lectures on the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods, as well as practical classes on early material culture and ethnographic parallels, the handling of stone implements, and the identification of teeth and bones.
In the course of a study visit to the Ipswich Municipal Museum Mr. Baden-Powell was able to acquire, through the generosity of the municipality, a large number os tone implements from Barnham and other sites in East Anglia and elsewhere. They included some from the Oxford district which greatly helped in the work on the prehistory of this region which he has undertaken in collaboration with Dr. Kenneth Sandford.
Field research during the year included visits to important Pleistocene sections in Cheshire and the Severn Valley with the Quaternary Field Study Group from Birmingham. Later participation at the meeting of this same body in County Durham, with officers of the Geological survey, produced important geological and archaeological conclusions. Work has also continued on the geological dating of early man in Africa and Asia, including new finds from South Wales and iceland, the former associated with radiocarbon determinations and the latter with measurements of the rate of retreat of the nearby ice-sheet.
Mr. Britton gave courses of lectures on ‘The First Village Communities in the Old World’, ‘The later Neolithic and Early Bronze Age in Europe’, and ‘Methods and aims of prehistoric archaeology’, and classes on the material culture of the Neolithic period in the Near East and Europe and of the Early Bronze Age of Europe, as well as on some problems of prehistoric archaeology.
He served on the Council of the Prehistoric Society and in Oxford on the Committee for Archaeology, the Committee of the Oxford Architectural and Historical Society and was Senior Treasurer of the Oxford University Archaeological Society.
He attended the Summer Conference of the Prehistoric Society in September 1964, the Spring Conference in London in April 1965, and paid a study visit to Northern ireland in the summer, visiting the Ulster Museum, the Department of Archaeology at Queen’s University, Belfast, and archaeological sites in Ulster.
Miss B.M. Blackwood has worked on a number of large new collections acquired during the year. She spent several days at Cambridge in November working through an early collection made at the turn of the century by the Folk-Lore Society, whose Council (of which Miss Blackwood is a member) had decided to limit its collections to those of local interest to the British Isles.
In March she spent a week at Ipswich making a selection of part of the ethnographical collection of the County Borough Museum which the governing body had decided to dispose of. Several hundred specimens from many parts of the world were purchased at a nominal price and subsequently transported in the museum motor van to the new store at 18 Parks Road, where Miss Blackwood has begun to work on them. She identified and brought in a collection of Balkan material from the estate of Mrs. De Garis Davies, who had been kind enough to bequeath them to the museum.
She collected and catalogued another and much larger collection bequeathed to the museum by the late Miss Estella Canziani of London, who has been a valued friend and benefactor of the Pitt Rivers Museum for more than forty years. Perhaps the most important part of this bequest is a series of Italian maps and other lighting apparatus which usefully supplements our already exhaustive series.
An important acquisition collected from Hampshire and catalogued by Miss Blackwood was the result of many years’ field work and research by Mr. Robert Aitken on the history of the plough. The collection consists of ten filing boxes full of books, pamphlets, and manuscript notes and will undoubtedly be of considerable value to future research. Mr. Aitken felt unable through ill health to pursue this work to its conclusion, and he has in fact since died.
Miss Blackwood continued to be mainly responsible for the maintenance of the Regional and Subject Indexes, did other indispensable work on the documentation of the collections and gave considerable assistance to visiting scholars.

Balfour Library
All books up to octavo (the larger books will be done later) have been rearranged to make them more accessible by subdividing the continental areas into more manageable geographical areas, or by arranging more convenient subject categories. Additional shelving has been added covering the balance of wall space and the bookshelves have been conspicuously but neatly labelled, and diagrammatic regional maps provided at appropriate places.
The compressor and jack hammers used on adjacent building operations, which made the library virtually un-usable throughout the year, mercifully ceased operating during the long vacation. The library, now protected by the Minerva system against accidental fire hazards, is again fully available for recognized students and visiting scholars.

Adminstration and Staff Changes
Research, teaching, and administration have been greatly facilitated by the purchase of a Dalcopier photocopying machine, which has also been found to have valuable applications in display work.
Miss R.E.H. Harrison, who had been trained for two years at the Institute of Technology, was appointed to the photographic vacancy on the technical staff, occasioned by the termination of the appointment of Mr. R. Lambert.
Mr Alan Waddington served as a probationary Junior Technician from 18 March onwards.

The technical staff have been kept busy for much of the year on designing and making new display cases, lighting units, and display mounts for the new exhibition gallery, and in experimenting with display and labelling techniques. Contrary to expectations it was found possible by using only top lighting from the dark egg-crate ceiling to keep reflections to a tolerable minimum for all the glazed display cases, especially those backing onto the wall.
Building operations in the Museum and preoccupation with display work in the new gallery, minor building works, and the removal of the reserve collections prevented the rehabilitation of most of the displaced exhibit cases. A new display case forty feet long with continuous sliding plate glass front and cupboards underneath for reserve specimens was designed by the museum staff and almost completed by the end of the year. This has been made to contain the celebrated gun collection (displaying the evolution of firearms), the first ever made by the museum’s founder, General Pitt Rivers. This historical series, from which the creation of the entire museum has derived, will be given pride of place on the outer wall of the new gallery which now forms one side of the Court of the Museum.

Purchase of Specimens
Ethnographic collection from Surinam (Carib-speaking Tiriyo tribe), made and documented by Mr. Peter Riviere. Serinette, eighteenth-century pipe-organ. Ethnographic collection from the Gonja and other tribes of northern Ghana, made and documented by Miss Anna Craven. Collection of textiles and spinning, weaving, and dyeing equipment, made by the 1964 Oxford University Women’s Expedition to Bijapur, India. Three Japanese netsuke. Collection of rare textiles from southern Switzerland. Twelve carved wooden masks and figures, etc., from various countries in West Africa purchased from Berkeley Galleries, London. One Benin bronze leopard mask formerly in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Farnham, from the Parke Bernet Galleries (Sotheby’s) of New York. Ethnographic collection of material culture of the nomadic and settled Vlachs from the mountains near Joannina in Epirus, made and documented by Miss Angela Fagg.

Collections of Air Photographs
With a grant of £800 from the Arnold Historical Essay Prize Fund, considerable progress has been made by two part-time ex-Royal Air Force specialists in the identification and arrangement of the unique collection of aerial photographs (numbering more than 200,000) of the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. At the end of the year the collection was moved to a specially-equipped room with new prefabricated shelves and a plan press, where it will eventually be available for detailed study.

The following gifts to the Museum are very gratefully acknowledged: Mr. J.E. Thomas: very large Katanga ‘H’-type copper currency ingot and ethnographic     collection from the Bemba tribe of Zambia. Mr. Michael Eden: decorated comb from the Waiwai of British Guiana. Mr. E. Morland: South African and Indian specimens. Mr. Ruy Cinatti: tape recording of Timor music. H.E. The Mexican Ambassador in London: collection of photographs and colour reproductions. Sir Gilbert Laithwaite: throwing club and gourd bowl from Polynesia. The Folk Lore Society : 270 specimens of ethnographic interest from different parts of the world. Mrs. E. Ettlinger: photographic collection. Junta de Investigaçöes de Ultramar, Lisbon, and Mr. Ruy Cinatti: twenty-one long-playing records of music of the Algarve. Miss K. Woodward: Gurkha kukri. Mr. Sh.Sana: Iranian wooden writing-case. Anonymous: fine Sudanese silver-mounted dagger and sheath. Mr. S.P. George: collection of ethnographic material from West Cameroon and from the Republic of Nigeria. Mrs. E. Selfe: two early examples of Akamba woodcarving. Miss Estella Canziani: bequest of 175 ethnographic specimens, largely consisting of lamps. Mrs. Estelle G. De Montmorency: carved effigy of Queen Victoria by a Yoruba carver, and ethnographic specimens from Nigeria. Professor E.E. Evans-Prichard: wooden table carved by a Mangbetu carver. Mrs. H. Myint: Kochin ceremonial costume decorated with Burmese silver ornaments. Transferred on permanent loan from the Ashmolean Museum: eleven examples of Algerian and Spanish decorated pottery. Musée de l’Homme, Paris: collection of ethnographic material from Indo-China sent in exchange for a collection of specimens from the Naga Hills.


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