Report of the Committee for the Pitt Rivers Collection for the period 1 August 1974 to 31 December 1975 and of the Acting Curator of the Museum for the year ended 31 July 1976

The Committee continued under the Chairmanship of the Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, and met six times in the period 1 August 1974 to 31 July 1975. On 3 November 1975 the Committee met for the fiftieth and final time, being superseded on 1 January 1976 by the new Committee for the Pitt Rivers Museum (Decree (2) of 20 November 1975, Gazette, p. 248).

Because of the impending retirement of the Curator a very large part of the Committee's time at these meetings was devoted to preparing recommendations at the request of the Faculty Board on the future of the Curatorship of the museum, and the relationship of the museum to the teaching department. Allied to these matters was the question whether the composition and terms of reference of the committee should be changed before the Curatorship was advertised. The outcome o£ these deliberations is enshrined in the decree referred to above.

1974-5 was a crucial year in the evolution of new development plans for the museum and the committee devoted much time to the examination of details to be included in the architect's brief, and of outline proposals and more detailed Stage I plans submitted by the Surveyor to the University. Good progress was made and during the first half of 1975 the plans were approved by Congregation and the city planning authorities. The committee noted with regret that the University felt unable to contribute to the cost of Stage I, with which it has been possible to proceed only by committing virtually the whole of the Lewis Balfour Bequest.

Apart from these major items the committee gave its attention to a number of more routine matters including the University Grants Committee visitation in May 1975, policy on museum inquiries, financial matters, the Swan Fund, and publications. The publications subcommittee met twice.


Staff Maffers
The Curator, Mr. B.E.B. Fagg, was granted special leave for the academic year 1974-5, to be followed by his retirement in December 1975, in order that he might devote himself more fully to his research on the Nok culture of Nigeria. Three months were spent in Nigeria. Dr. Roe made a research trip to Kenya and Tanzania in October in connection with his research on Early Stone Age artefacts from Olduvai Gorge. Mr. Inskeep spent three months in South Africa continuing research initiated during his tenure at the University of Cape Town. He was able to bring back on loan a unique 1,400 year old terracotta head which is being reconstructed and studied at the Museum of Mankind. It is hoped that replicas will be made for the British Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum before the specimen is returned to South Africa.

The museum collaborated with Gateway Films in the making o£ a short documentary film 'Flint Implements' for which Dr. Roe acted as subject consultant.

Apart from normal teaching duties in Oxford several members of staff lectured and examined in other centres, and served on a variety of committees. A special seminar on 'Science and Religion' was organized in Hilary Term by Dr. Colson and Mr. Collinson.

We acknowledge with gratitude the continued assistance in an honorary capacity of Miss B.M. Blackwood, Mr. Stephen Bach, Mrs. E. Sandford Gunn, and Mr. G.E.S. Turner. Mr. Rivers, the museum's cabinet-maker, was seconded to the museum at Moesgaard in Denmark for two weeks to observe and assist in the process of mounting a new display there.

Occasional Papers on Technology edited by MISS B.M. BLACKWOOD and T.K. PENNIMAN:
No. 12 OAKLEY, K.P. Decorative and symbolic uses of vertebrate fossils.
No. 4 COGHLAN, H.H. (Revised edition). Notes on the prehistoric metallurgy of copper and bronze in the Old World.

COLSON, A.J. BUTT. 'Akawaio birth customs' in Studies in Social anthropology. Clarendon Press, 1975.
INSKEEP, R.R. 'Excavations in a South African coastal cave' in Perspectives in Palaeoanthropology. Calcutta, 1974.
JONES, S. 'Silver, gold and iron: concerning Urei, Katara, and the magic lakes of Nuristan.' Kuml, 1974-5, Aarhus University.
ROE, D.A. 'Palaeolithic artefacts from the River Avon terraces near Bristol.' Proc. Univ. Bristol. Spelaeol. Soc. 13 (3): 319-26. 1974.
HOLDEN, E.W. and ROE, D.A. 'A Handaxe from Southland Farm, Warninglid, Slaugham.' Sussex Archaeol. Collections. 112: 152-4. 1974.

Miss W.B. Yeatman: a collection of Ibo ironwork, etc., and copies of body-painting designs. Mr. T.D. Rogers: a spear set with bone barbs, probably New Hebrides. Dr. K.P. Oakley: a seventeenth-century silver pendant of a Jurassic ammonite and three tiepins incorporating fossils, and several books for the library. Mr. A.F.B. Bridges: three very fine Ibo brass anklets. Dr. M. Cardale de Schrimpff: a collection of textiles and related materials from Colombia. Miss D.B. Dew: an Ainu spoon, and a South African cow bell dating from the Boer War. Dr. R.K. Jain: a pair of slippers from Madhya Pradesh. Mrs. A. Lane-Poole: seven finely decorated 'walking-sticks' collected during her late husband's service in N. Rhodesia (Zambia) early in the colonial period. The Principal, Lady Margaret Hall: a copy of her book on Traditional Bemenda co-authored with P. M. Kaberry. Mr. J.R.F. Mills: a fine collection of knives and spears from Malaya and Sri Lanka.
Mrs. A.G. Shelford: a large album of photographs taken in Sarawak about seventy-five years ago by her late husband W.C. Shelford and Charles Hose. Professor C.F.C. Hawkes: a generous gift of books and off-prints from his own library, for the Donald Baden-Powell Quaternary Research Centre. The Australia High Commission: a collection of colour slides, records, and a book illustrating Aboriginal Arts. The Visitors of the Ashmolean Museum: a Solomon Islands canoe prow ornament, and five fans, probably from India. Mrs. R.M. Downes: stone implements found by Captain R. M. Downes in the neighbourhood of Zaria.

From Mr. W. Fagg: two Benin bronzes from the original collection of General Pitt Rivers at the Farnham Museum in Dorset. We gratefully acknowledge the help of the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund in the purchase of these important pieces. From Mrs. Jane Wagner: collection illustrating manufacture of stone bracelets from Mali; nine specimens of cloth from Mali.

Library, Archives, Photographs and Air Photographs
The archive collection has been moved to 60 Banbury Road where Mr. Bach continues his honorary work on cataloguing. The library assistant, Mrs. Keeley, is working on a summary catalogue of the photograph collection. Several requests for access to the air-photograph collection were accommodated during the year.
1,792 items were loaned to readers. 159 new readers were registered. 183 books 324 journal parts were accessioned and 199 books and periodicals were bound or re-bound.

Museum Matters
The visitation of the University Grants Committee in May provided an opportunity to state the museum's most urgent problems both verbally and in writing.

During the year a part of the Banbury Road site was allocated, together with the three houses 60, 62, and 64 Banbury Road, to be developed for the Pitt Rivers Museum together with the teaching activities of the Department. Under the supervision of the University Surveyor outline plans for staged development were drawn up, approved by the Committee for the Collection, the Faculty Board, and Congregation, and were submitted for city planning approval. Discussions are now under way between museum staff and the Surveyor's staff over design details. Welcome as these developments are they are tinged with regret that the Council declared itself unable to provide any funds for Stage I of the development and has indicated that a start can only be made by using the Balfour bequest to pay for the building.

Late in 1974, 60 Banbury Road was made available to the museum and conversion for occupation commenced in mid January 1975. The new Donald Baden-Powell Quaternary Research Centre was virtually complete and already in use before the end of June. The work of re-organization of study collections and of displays in the Upper Gallery has made good progress, but with so small a staff complement the work is bound to go slowly. It is imperative that the re-grouping and re-housing of reserve collections, initiated by the move from 18 Parks Road in 1973 and given added urgency by the Banbury Road development plans, should be given top priority, and for this reason most requests for access to or information on the collections have had to be refused.

During the course of the year 150 requests for information on specimens were received, plus another 26 requests for information and photographs, and 48 requests for access to various collections. The photographic department dealt with 98 outside and 63 inside commissions, providing 1,135 prints. In addition 840 slides were made.

The workshop staff were kept extremely busy completing new storage arrangements for the arrow collections, fitting out boxes, made in the Surveyor's workshop, to provide secure housing for swords and daggers. Several cases were adapted for new display in the Upper Gallery, and the palaeolith collections from here and from 5 Norham Gardens were moved to 60 Banbury Road. Much work has gone into clearing space on the ground floor at Osney Mead with a view to creating additional storage space for certain classes of specimen. Almost every task is aggravated by the shortage of space for decanting.
The conservation laboratory fulfilled its commitments to the Area Museums Service and carried out a large amount of first aid work on our own collections. Work on the re-housing of the textile collections, involving careful inspection and a fair amount of cleaning and repair, has been carried almost as far as it can go until more furniture and space are available. Excellent progress has been made. With the aid of a 50 per cent grant from the South-east Area Museums Service work on building a much needed fumigation chamber was commenced.

Student numbers

Visitors to the museum included Dame Te Arikinui, D.B.E., and entourage (New Zealand); Mrs. F. Silverman (Peabody Museum, Harvard); Professor Muller-Beck, Dr. J. Hahn, and Dr. G. von Koenigswald (Tubingen); Dr. A. Jellinek (Tucson); Professor E.N. Wilmsen (Michigan); Dr. M.L.K. Murty (Poona); Dr. Mary Leakey (Nairobi); Dr. C.B.M. McBurney (Cambridge); Dr. P. Mellars (Sheffield); Dr. J.B. Campbell and Professor B. Reynolds (James Cook University); Dr. S. Kozlowski (Warsaw); Mrs. B. Allchin (Cambridge); Professor J.D. Clark (Berkeley); Mr. G. Avery (S. African Museum, Cape Town); Mr. Z.Y. Milanov (Bulgaria); Dr. Tatic (Yugoslavia); Mr. R. Derricourt (Zambia); Miss D. Idiens (Edinburgh); Dr. Dorward (Birmingham); Dr. J.P. Warnier (Nigeria); Mr. G. Mgomezulu (Malawi).

Acting Curator

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