20. Report of the Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum (Department of Ethnology and Prehistory) for the year ending 31 July 1966

Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum and Head of the Department of Ethnology and Prehistory: B.E.B. Fagg, M.A., Fellow of Linacre.
Univeristy Lecturers in Ethnology: Audrey J. Butt, M.A., D.Phil., Fellow of St. Hugh’s; K.O.L. Burridge, M.A., Ph.D. (A.N.U.), Fellow of St. Cross.
University Lecturers in Prehistoric Archaeology: D. Britton, M.A., Fellow of St Cross; D.A. Roe, M.A., Merton College.
Honorary Assistant Curator: Miss B.M. Blackwood, B.Sc., M.A., Somerville College.
Secretary and Librarian: H.P.G. Unsworth; Assistant Secretary-Librarian: Miss E.Torr; Personal Secretary: Mrs. P.M. Bowler.
Technical and General: K.H. Walters (Principal Technician), R.P. Rivers, R.W. Sword (Senior Technicians), B.P. Narracott (Senior Technician-Photographer). L.H. Taylor, F.J. Nipress, Mrs. M.E. Fowler.

The Museum
Progress can be recorded in the plan to rebuild the museum and departmental accommodation on a new site in association with a number of other related departments.

Following the adoption by Congregation in February of a decree authorizing the University to purchase from St. John’s College the Banbury Road-Bradmore Road site and to allocate it for the time being to the Pitt Rivers Museum and associated departments, the University commissioned Professor Pier Luigi Nervi of Rome and Messrs. Powell and Moya of London to prepare an architectural appreciation and preliminary drawings. The outcome of an application to the City Council for outline planning permission is awaited.

The temporary exhibition gallery whose construction was noted in last year’s report was opened in November with an exhibition of West African sculpture entitled ‘Art from the Guinea Coast’. In addition to the Museum’s own collections which formed the bulk of the display the Museum is grateful for loans from the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Oni of Ife, the Oba of Benin, the Dagacin Jebba Gungu, the Trustees of the British Museum, Mr. Hugh Nevins, and Mr. Boris de Chroustchoff, whose generosity made it possible to see the history of West African art in much greater depth than would otherwise have been possible.

Miss B.M. Blackwood continued her indispensable help in the acquisition and cataloguing of new collections, and continued to have sole charge of the work on the Regional and Subject and Donors’ Indexes, a monumental work which was begun by Mr. Penniman in 1939. She prepared a critical inventory of over 4,000 musical instruments for publication by the committee on Musical Instruments of the International council of Museums.

Invaluable help in the study of firearms has been given by Mr. A.W. Kennard of H.M. Tower of London and Dr. M. Hammerton of Cambridge/

Miss Denise Gross gave very valuable voluntary assistance in the documentation department of the museum, travelling from London for this purpose, on an average, once a week.

The loss by theft of Japanese netsuke reported last year was followed by the recovery of all except 34 specimens and by the conviction and sentencing of the responsible criminal. That such a high proportion (almost 82 per cent.) have been recovered is a tribute to the excellent work of the Oxford City Police, aided by Scotland Yard, Interpol, and the Sureté Nationale in Paris.
The removal of the reserve collections to the new storage accommodation and the conversion of the storage shed into laboratories and a lecture theatre occupied the attention of the technical staff throughout the year in addition to their other duties. The photographic department made considerable progress towards the conversion of the slide collection to the current standard format of 35 mm.

Appointments, duties, external activities
Mr. Fagg: Leverhulme Research Fellow, Member of Council of Royal Anthropological Institure, Executive Council of the International Council of Museums. Attended International Conference of I.C.O.M., New York, Smithsonian Bicentenary Celebrations, Washington, and First International Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar, as member of Colloque.

Dr. Butt: Member of Exploration Committee of Royal Geographical Society, Committee of the Society for Latin American Studies, Hon. Secretary of the Middle and South American Research Committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute, member of the inter-Faculty Liaison Committee for Latin American Studies, University of Oxford.

Dr. Burridge: Member of Council of Royal Anthropological Institute, Board of the Faculty of Anthropology and Geography, Hon. Secretary, Sub Faculty of Anthropology, Diploma Secretary for Ethnology.

Mr. Britton: Diploma Secretary for Prehistoric Archaeology, member of Committee for Archaeology, University of Oxford. External lectures to the Association for cultural Exchange, British Association (Section H), and W.E.A. Hampstead.

Mr. Roe: Assumed duty as University Lecturer on 1 October 1965. External lecture to Nottingham University.

Ethnology Option in Preliminary Examination for Geography, 45 students; Diploma Students in Ethnology, 2 students; Diploma in Prehistoric Archaeology, I student; B. Litt., 3 students; D.Phil., 4 students.

Mr. Fagg: 2 lecture courses on West African Material Culture and the Arts and Industries of Africa.

Dr. Butt: 2 Lecture courses on Lands and peoples of America and Africa (Ecological Systems). Practical classes (3 terms on Material culture and Technological processes: Amerindian and African Peoples. 1 lecture course on Some Contributions of Latin American Research to Social Anthropological Theory.

Dr. Burridge: 2 lecture courses on Lands and Peoples of Asia and Oceania; 1 lecture course (6 lectures) on Ethnological Models; 1 lecture course (6 lectures) on Perspectives in the History of Ethnological Theory. Practical classes, 10.

Mr. Britton: Lecture courses on: The First Farming Communities in the Old World; The Later Neolithic Period in Europe; The Start of the Bronze Age in Europe. Practical classes: Material Evidence for Prehistory; Archaeology and the Natural Sciences; Method and Theory in Prehistoric Archaeology.

Mr. Roe: Lecture courses on: The Old Stone Age (two terms); The Old and Middle Stone Age. Practical classes: Material Culture of the Old Stone Age (two Terms); Material Culture of the Old and Middle Stone Age.

An overseas archaeological field expedition was organized by the Curator, with generous financial help from the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Federal Government of Nigeria, to undertake excavations at a remote site named Taruga, near Abuja in Northern Nigeria, where terra cotta figurines of the Nok Culture had been found in preliminary excavations in 1961. With the use of a proton magnetometer generously lent by Dr. E.T. Hall, head of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, and operated by Dr. Michael Tite of the Houldsworth School of Applied Science, University of Leeds, nine smelting furnaces were located scattered over about three of the four acres surveyed. This is believed to be the first recorded example of the successful use of this technique in the Tropica, where the angle of magnetic dip approaches zero compared with temperate areas where it varies between 5º and 7º. The finds were shipped to Oxford for study and eventual return to Nigeria, by arrangement with the Nigerian Antiquities Commission and the Federal Department of Antiquities, and arrived in July.
Dr. Butt continued her research into the society and culture of the Carib-speaking people of the Guianas of South America.

Mr. Britton conducted a study tour of archaeological sites in Scotland in October 1965. He prepared the text for ‘Prehistoric finds from the Heathery Burn Cave, Co. Durham’, in the series Inventaria Archaeologica: G.B. (General Editor, C. F. C. Hawkes), and a contribution to the Pitt Rivers Museum Occasional Paper on metallurgical studies of bronze objects from the British and Irish Bronze Age.

Mr. Roe continued has research work on the Handaxe Industries of the British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic and on the preparation of a Gazetteer of British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic sites for the Council of British Archaeology.

Mr. D.F.W. Baden-Powell, formerly University Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology, continued his research into the geological age of fossil men and their stone implements, and climatic changes during and since the last Ice Age.

Mr. Jeremy Montagu, who has studied the collection of musical instruments intermittently for several years, has now undertaken specific research into the museum’s extensive collection of horns, conch shells, and trumpets in preparation for a Pitt Rivers Museum publication on this subject.

Butt, A.J. ‘The Guianas.’ Bulletin of the International Committee on Urgent Anthropological amd Ethnological Research, No. 7, 1965. Reviews.

Burridge, K.O.L. ‘Tangu Religion.’ In Gods, Ghosts and Men in Melanesia, Melbourne, 1965.

Burridge, K.O.L. ‘Tangu Political Relations.’ Anthropological Forum, Vol. 1, Nos. 3-4, 1965-6. Reviews.

The following gifts to the Museum were very gratefully accepted: Mrs.Robert Aitken: additions to the collection of literature on agriculture technology made by her late husband, Mr. Robert Aitken, and previously presented by him. Ashmolean Museum, Department of Western Art: transfer of Eskimo sealskin painting. Mr. Lewis Balfour: collection of Scandinavian and South American specimens, formerly belonging to Professor Henry Balfour, Curator of the Museum until his death in 1939. Mr. Albert H. Beasley: table model Polyphon musical box. Dr. Robert F. Beckinsale: Japanese wood-carving. Cambridge University Expedition to Surinam, 1965: thirty-nine Bush Negro specimens. Church Missionary Society: 130 ethnographic specimens from various parts of the world. Mr. Ruy Cinatti: record of archaic Portuguese music. Mr. Reginald Davies: four carved wooden objects from the Southern Sudan. Professor E. E. Evans-Pritchard: large collection of photographs, both negative and positive, taken during field-work in Africa. Mrs. L. Taylor Hansen: 48 pottery and stone specimens from Mexico and the United States. Mrs. C. Haughton: collection of ethnographic specimens mainly from South-east Asia. Museum of the History of Science: two Yoruba wood carvings. Dr. M.D.W. Jeffreys: one wood carving from West Cameroun. The family of the late E.R. Jerrim: large collection of ethnographic material collected between 1914 and 1920, mainly in Nigeria. Mrs. E. Jerwood: specimen of Polynesian bark cloth.  Mrs. Pamela B. Knight: working model of spinning jenny carved in bone by Napoleonic prisoners of war. Mrs. Eva Krapf-Askari: a collection of Yoruba decorated brasswork. Mrs. Nettie R. Kreiser: Yoruba carved wooden bowl. Mr. E. G. Levien: carved coconut from Andaman Islands. Mrs. Margaret S. MacLeod: collection of ethnographic specimens from Australasia, the Near East, and North-west Europe. Mr. R.A. Malyn: knife and scabbard from Ankole, Uganda. Mr. J.W. Martin: iron Jingle from Western Nigeria. Mr. T. Naish: four ethnographic specimens from Australia, Fiji, and South Africa. Mrs. P. Newdigate: early bicycle. Mrs. J.S. Ross: 41 ethnographic specimens from Nigeria. The daughters of the late S.D. Secretan: 12 American Indian specimens. Mrs. E.M. Shetliffe: collection of early lantern slides taken in Ceylon. Mrs H. Sherek: collection of Tibetan and Chinese costumes.  Mr. W.F.E.R. Ten Raa: tape recordings of the Sandawe of Tanzania.  Mr. Colin Walker: six Sudanese knives. Mr. W.E. Williamson: four-barrelled repeating pistol, .455 calibre. The Assistant Master of the Armouries, H.M. Tower of London, has generously provided on long loan three guns to complete the series on the evolution of firearms.

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