24. Report of the Acting Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum (Department of Ethnology and Prehistory) for the year ending 31 July 1973

Some progress has been made during the year on the problem of providing a new building for the Museum. The Banbury Road site remains allocated to the Museum, and the Hebdomadal Council has, during the year, commissioned the University Surveyor to draw up plans for a staged development of the site. Meanwhile the Museum's needs for extra space remain as acute as ever.

Accommodation and rehousing of collections
The activities of the entire staff have centred, throughout the year, on the rehousing of the tens of thousands of specimens formerly kept in 18 Parks Road, and the inevitable side effects of the move. Notice to vacate the building by the end of January 1973 was received in mid-June, and a plan of action was agreed by early August. Because of the difficulties and delays experienced in obtaining suitable packing materials the actual process of sorting and packing could not be started before October. The suitability of Osney Mead for the storage of much of the ethnographic material involved was uncertain, and in fact the building was not available until early February. It was, therefore, reluctantly agreed to close the Upper Gallery of the Museum and to use it for storage.

In the late Autumn 18 Parks Road became the scene of a kind of penal servitude. The two Assistant Curators became almost first time inmates for nearly three months, sorting, packing, and carrying specimens in the ill-lit, filthy, and often extremely cold recesses of this old house. For much of the time they were joined in this by the Museum photographer and the two conservators. Meanwhile our small technical staff (three men) worked wonders in constructing storage racks and moving heavy furniture and specimens that would have tried the strength and patience of professional furniture removers. By 6 February the task was complete, and only a large hole now marks the scene of this extraordinary activity.

The removal could not, however, end with the transportation of the specimens from 18 Parks Road; it has necessitated a complete revision of the storage of collections not on display, and this exercise is likely to consume a major part of the time of the museum staff for at least another year or two. It is a task of primary importance if the collections are to be safely housed and readily locate-able in the future. It is a matter of regret that certain services to the public and to fellow scholars must be severely curtailed during this period of reorganization. The new storage areas at Osney Mead became available early in February, the upper floor for specimens and the lower for 'box' storage. When first occupied the relative humidity of the specimen storage area fluctuated wildly, reaching unacceptably high levels, but conditions have improved steadily during the summer, and at present this seems to be one of our better storage areas. Careful watch will have to be maintained through the coming winter before it can be known whether this will be an acceptable all-year-round storage area for ethnographic specimens. In the meantime large quantities of more robust specimens have been lodged there, and this has made it possible to empty the grossly overcrowded cupboards in the tea-room, and the two small green sheds at the back of the Museum. The latter are now due for conversion to office space for staff and graduate-student use. The textile collection has, for the first time in its existence, found something approaching ideal storage conditions in the excellent cupboard and drawer units constructed by the Surveyor's department, and housed in the 'huts' behind 1 South Parks Road, though there is still some overcrowding. Some carpentry remains to be done and a good deal of detail work is needed, but the collection should, at the end of it, be well housed. and more readily accessible.

'Black spots' on the storage front still remain in the room above the workshops, in the basement of the Examination Schools, and in many overcrowded cupboards and drawers in the galleries and Museum court. It is hoped that steps may be taken during the coming year to improve these conditions;

The post of Museum Assistant was reluctantly traded in during the year to make possible a much-needed increase in the technical staff. As a result Mr. R. Murphy joined the staff as a Junior Technician in October, to assist partly in the photographic department, and partly in the workshop. Mr. J. Todd was appointed Technician from 1 July 1973, primarily to undertake display work in the galleries. The most urgent need now is for two or more Museum Assistant posts, and for three or four additional Attendant-Cleaner posts. The latter would make it possible to open the Museum for longer hours.

It has proved difficult to fill the post of Library-Clerical Assistant, and the post is again vacant.

It should, perhaps, be said that the kind of work which has consumed so much of the time of the Assistant Curators during the year is quite decidedly not the kind of work they should be doing. It is not an economic use of personnel, and points up the serious need for additional staff in the form of Museum Assistants and Technicians.

The Balfour Library
Insufficient shelf space continues to be a problem in the library, but a new book shelf was erected by members of our own staff during the year in one of the bays in the periodicals library. It is hoped to erect further shelves during the coming year.
The main accessions were as follows:
Books 221
Periodicals 274
During the year the total number of loans to readers was 2,184, and 162 new readers were registered. A total of 238 books and periodical parts were sent for binding.

Archival manuscript papers were removed from the library, with a view to more suitable storage, cataloguing, and supervision should it prove possible to obtain the necessary assistance required to carry out this work.

A grant of £13.75 was received from the Inter-faculty Committee for Latin American Studies towards the purchase of Latin American books.

Air Photographs Collection
During the course of the year we exhausted the final grant of £550 received from the Committee for Graduate Studies towards the cost of cataloguing the collection of Air Photographs. This enabled Mr. James Craig, who has been voluntarily working on the collection since October 1971, to bring the classification and plotting of the main collection of photographs, on which work commenced in 1961, to a point where it is now usable. It is hoped that the availability of the collection will gradually become better known so that it may be more widely used.

This year the sale of postcards in the Museum has more than doubled and it is hoped that the introduction, during the coming year, of a greater choice of coloured postcards will further increase sales. Miss Blackwood's offprint on the Origin and Development of the Pitt Rivers Museum, and the Catalogue on Art from the Guinea Coast continue to sell well. The second edition of Anthony Baines's Bagpipes is now exhausted and the third edition is in course of printing. We hope that Dr. Oakley's work on the Decorative Use of Fossils, which will be next in the series, will be ready to go to the press next year.

The Conservation Laboratory is now complete and fully operational. After more than a year of correspondence with the General Board and the Area Museums Service for South East England (A.M.S.S.E.E.) the agreement establishing a conservation agency has now been signed. This enables us to retain, for the time being, the full-time services of a qualified and experienced conservator in return for providing A.M.S.S.E.E. with 1,000 hours a year of conservation time for client museums. It also means that the Junior Technician in training in the laboratory can receive expert training and supervision, and that a start has been made on the immense task of arresting the disintegration which is increasingly affecting the organic specimens which form so large a part of the collections.

Visiting Scholars and inquiries
Anthropology is experiencing something of a renaissance of interest in material culture, and this is clearly reflected in the very large number of inquiries and requests for services addressed to the Museum. Many of these inquiries come from ordinary members of the public, from teachers in training, graduate students, publishers, the B.B.C., etc. But many are from established scholars, from many parts of the world, and with widely varying interests. During the past year 94 photographic commissions were dealt with, and approximately 150 other requests for information or services were received. A combination of insufficient staff and the large reorganization programme in hand has meant that most of these inquiries had to go unsatisfied.

Among the many visitors to the Museum and Department we were pleased to welcome the following from abroad: Professor J.D. Clark (Berkeley, Calif.), Dr. M.D. Leakey (Nairobi), Klaus Ferdinand (Aarhus, Denmark), Lennart Edelberg (Ribe, Denmark), Dr. G. Isaac (Berkeley), Dr. I. McBryde (Armidale, Australia), Professor R.G. Klein (Chicago), Dr. A. Tuffreau, Professor R. Singer (Chicago), Professor G. W. Stocking (Chicago), Mr. H.J. Deacon (Stellenbosch, South Africa), Mrs. J. Leopold, Mrs. Jean Brown (Nairobi), Mr. H. Fosbrook (Arusha), Mrs. Jane Wagner (Mali), and Miss M. Shaw (Cape Town).

Museum attendance
Although the limited staff allocation of cleaner-attendants (two full-time and two part-time) makes it impossible to open the Museum to the public for more than two hours in the afternoon, Monday to Saturday, 20,564 people visited the museum. This included 134 parties from schools and institutions of higher learning, most of which were admitted, by special arrangement, in the mornings, when the Museum is officially closed to visitors. There is no doubt that many more visitors could benefit from access to the collections if the Museum were able to open for longer hours.

A small collection of Japanese material was loaned to Leeds City Museum for a special exhibition, and several West Africa ethnographic specimens were loaned to the Royal Scottish Museum. The Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum returned material loaned in May 1972. A backstaff used by Edmund Culpepper was loaned to the Oxford University Museum of the History of Science for a special display of Culpepper instruments.

Several requests for loan of material were refused, and it is proposed to keep loan arrangements to an absolute minimum at least for the time being. The reasons for this are that in recent years several specimens have suffered damage during transit or handling on loan, and also because of the considerable amount of work involved in handling loan undertakings.

Staff activities
Mr. D. F. W. Baden-Powell in another year of active 'retirement' has continued his valuable voluntary work with the palaeolithic collections housed in the basement of 5 Norham Gardens. An important loan collection of Irish Mesolithic material from Ipswich Museum has been sorted, boxed, and stored, and collections of palaeoliths from Europe, India, and Africa have been brought up from the basement of the Examination Schools and stored in a more systematic way. It is with deep regret that we must record the death of Donald Baden-Powell on 11 September 1973.

It is impossible to speak of the work on the palaeolithic collections housed at Norham Gardens without mentioning the name of R.J. MacRae who for a number of years now has devoted a great part of his spare time to working with Mr. Baden-Powell on the task of systematizing the storage, and who has also added considerably to the British palaeolithic collections from his own collecting trips.

During the year a good deal of experimental flint knapping has gone on at the hands of Mr. Baden-Powell, Mr. MacRae, and Peter Jones, and some preliminary work has been done on the production of a short teaching film.

Miss B.M. Blackwood (Honorary Assistant Curator) as in former years has devoted the greater part of her time to the upkeep of our three card indexes (Regional; Subject; Donors, Lenders, and Sellers). During the period covered by this Report, cards for all specimens entered in Accessions Books during the year have been typed and distributed. Cards from the 2nd Supplementary Regional Index (1966-71) which had been kept apart for microfilming, have now been microfilmed by the Museum's photographer and have been transferred to the main Index. The 3rd Supplementary Index (1972- ) has been started. Some of the specimens acquired during the year have been entered, though the majority of these has been dealt with by other members of the staff. Miss Blackwood wishes to record her thanks to Mrs. Elizabeth Sandford Gunn for her invaluable voluntary help in coping with arrears.

In addition to coping with the usual spate of inquiries, both personally and by correspondence, from research students and others, some of which can be very time-consuming, Miss Blackwood has also continued to serve on the Committee of the Folklore Society, and on the General Committee of the Field Studies Council.

Mr. D. Britton (University Lecturer in Prehistory), in addition to his normal teaching duties, collaborated with Dr. M.J. Aitken of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art in the arrangement of a series of seminars on Science and Archaeology. He served during the year as Diploma Secretary for the Diploma in Prehistoric Archaeology, as a member of the Committee for Archaeology, and as Chairman of the Departmental Committee of the Department of Ethnology and Prehistory. He also served as Honorary Treasurer of the Prehistoric Society.

Dr. A.J. Butt Colson (University Lecturer in Ethnology), in addition to normal teaching commitments, served as Secretary for the Diploma in Ethnology and as Senior Treasurer of the 0.U. Exploration Club, and as a member of both the Expeditions Committee, and the Medical Committee of the Royal Geographical Society. Dr. Colson served as Chairman of Examiners for Human Sciences Preliminary Examinations, and examiner for the Ethnology Diploma. She also examined for the Cambridge Tripos, and Ph.D. theses for Cambridge University and for University College, London.

Mr. B.E.B. Fagg (Curator) took sabbatical leave from I October in order to continue his research on the Nok culture in the field in Nigeria.

*Mrs. Elizabeth Sandford Gunn (Honorary Assistant Curator) has continued to give invaluable assistance in dealing with public inquiries, and with the documentation and accessioning of collections. In particular she has assisted Miss Blackwood in dealing with the inevitable backlog in accessioning, and completed the accessioning of the important Arkell collection of beads and jewellery.

Mr. R.R. Inskeep (Assistant Curator), served as Acting Curator from 1 October during the Curator's leave of absence. Much of the months November to March were taken up with the move from 18 Parks Road. In Hilary term he delivered sixteen lectures on Aspects of African Archaeology, and also lectured at Cambridge and London. He served as an examiner for the Diploma in Prehistoric Archaeology and as external examiner in Anthropology (African Archaeology) for University College, London. Pressure of administrative duties has meant that little time has been available for research.

Dr. Schuyler Jones (University Lecturer in Ethnology and Assistant Curator). In addition to teaching and academic administrative work for the Department, Dr. Jones completed the manuscript of a full-length study, based on field-work, of political organization and political processes in Waigal Valley, Nuristan. He also worked as co-editor (with Lennart Edelberg) of an illustrated volume devoted to the economics, technology, and ecology of Nuristan. In June he read a paper at the second meeting of the newly formed Society for Afghan Studies at the British Academy, London. He continued to serve as a member of the Committee for the Pitt Rivers Collection, and acted during the year as secretary.

Dr. Derek Roe (University Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology), in addition to his departmental teaching duties delivered lectures in Cambridge, Oxford, and Abingdon. He examined a Ph.D. student for London University and the Honours School in Archaeology for the University of Edinburgh, supervised graduate students in Oxford, and acted as special adviser to research students at Cambridge and Leicester. During the year Dr. Roe continued gathering information on the British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic periods, advised on excavation at Stoke Newington, and continued as co-director of the British Acheulean Project sponsored by the N.S.F. He completed the writing-up of his study of large cutting tools from the Acheulean and Sangoan levels of the Kalambo Falls site (Zambia), and continued his processing of data gathered in the spring.of 1972, relating to bifaces from Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania). He served as a member of the Committee for the Pitt Rivers Collections, continued as Secretary of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Research Committee of the Council for British Archaeology, and continued on the Council's Advisory Panel on Grants for Publication. He also continued as a member of the Editorial Board of World Archaeology.

Mr. D. B. Tayler (Assistant Curator) was heavily involved in the move from 18 Parks Road, and, with Mr. Inskeep heavily tied up with administrative work and Dr. Schuyler Jones committed to a full teaching programme, he has borne the brunt of the work subsequently arising from the removal exercise. The work of sorting out boxes in the Upper Gallery, and of packing specimens from display cases and storage cupboards which had to be dismantled, and of supervising part-time labour is an ongoing task that has occupied most of his time throughout the year. In such moments as have been available throughout the year Mr. Tayler has continued his research on Colomhian Indian studies.

Blackwood, Beatrice. Review of Art and life in Polynesia, by T. Barrow, London 1972. Times Lit. Suppl., 6 July 1973.

Blackwood, Beatrice. Review of We the navigators. the ancient art of land-finding in the Pacific, by Dr. Lewis. Canberra, 1972. Times Lit. Suppl.. 6 July 1973.

*Colson, A.J. Inter-Tribal Trade in the Guiana Highlands, Antropologica (Fundacion La Salle de Ciencias Naturales, Instituto Caribe de Antropologia y Sociologia, Caracas), No. 34, p. 1-70, 1973.

Roe, D. 1972. Prehistory: an introduction (U.S.A. Paperback edition). California University Press.

Students                                Prehistoric
                         Ethnology        Archaeology
Diploma                        5         2
B.Litt.                        3         ..
D.Phil.                        2         1
All candidates for the Diploma passed. Social Science Research Studentships for 1972-3 were awarded to D. Price (Linacre) and A.J. Williams (Exeter). Dr. Neil Stevenson (Hertford) continued his project, Concepts of disease and medical practices of Peruvian peasants, supported by a Research Grant from the Social Sciences Research Council.
Dr. M. Cardale de Schrimpff (St. Hugh's) was appointed Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of the Andes. T. McCann (Merton) was appointed Community Relations Officer for Nottingham.

1. On page 129 of last year's report it was stated that the three card indexes were designed by Miss Blackwood. In fact the Donor Index was initiated by the first Curator, Henry Balfour, and the other two, Subject, and Regional, were initiated by the second Curator, T.K. Penniman, with the co-operation of Miss Blackwood who worked with him on the indexes until he retired in 1963. Since then Miss Blackwood also has maintained all three indexes.
2. The large wooden spinning top donated by Mr. H.J. Spinks is from Johore, West Malaysiaj and not, as stated, from India.

Donations. The following are most gratefully acknowledged: Professor J. D. Mulvaney: A representative collection of Australian stone implements in exchange for thirty British Clactonian specimens kindly donated by Mr. R.J. MacRae from his private collection. Mr. J. Bernard Calkin: Large collection of shale armlet fragments and cores with flint lathe tools and pebble burnishers, of Iron Age and Roman dates. From sites in the limestone uplands of Purbeck, Dorset (donated earlier, but only entered this year). Miss E.A. Elgood: Pair of carved wood Ibeji figures from Nigeria. Collected by her nephew, Professor G. Elgood of Lagos University. Dr. K.P. Oakley: Two message sticks used by Australian Aborigines. Mr. W.E. Roscher: Gramophone record, 'Music of Tonga', with descriptive booklet. Mr. R.F. Tylecote: Metal-bladed hoe from Uganda, with metallurgical report. Mrs. E.K. Waterhouse: Miniature bone club, New Zealand Maori. Canon E.D.K. Wood: Two metal-bladed axes from Matabeleland collected about thirty-five years ago. Mr. Norman Hammond: A collection of archaeological specimens and casts from the late Classic Maya site of Lubaantun, British Honduras, in return for a contribution made by the Museum to the excavation fund. Mrs. M. Cardale de Schrimpff: Collection of basketry and woven materials from Colombia, S. America. Mr. D.F.W. Baden-Powell: Examples of bark cloth process and wood stirrers, probably East Africa. Mr. J. Ambache and Mr. R. Saumarez Smith: Photographs, negatives, and tape-recordings and three notebooks on the Embera tribe of western Colombia. Mr. C.R. Stonor: A metal armlet and two metal smoking-pipes from Eastern Dafla, Assam. Dr. J.C. Buxton (deceased): Three Nilotic spears (presented by Dr. R.G. Lienhardt). Dr. C. Gibson-Hill (deceased): A large collection of photographs of ethnographic interest taken by Dr. Gibson-Hill in Malaya and south Thailand.

Two pieces of barkcloth from Fiji. From Mrs. P.H. Slater. Collection of artefacts from the community of Santiago de Chocorvos in the southern corner of the Department of Huancavelica and the adjoining area of the Department of Ica in the central highlands of Peru. Includes back-strap loom, weaving tools, foot-plough, cradle, musical instruments. From Dr. N. Stevenson.

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