Annual report for the year 1978-9

The Committee having received the following Report from the Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum presents it as its Report to Congregation. The committee met three times during the year, once in each term. The principal topics for discussion were staff matters, measures necessary in connection with the Health and Safety at Work Act, requests for loans, and the progress of the new museum building.

Museum Matters
It became necessary during the year to vacate three basement rooms in the Examination Schools which had been used for storage of specimens for many years. Alternative accommodation which was offered having been declined by reason of its inaccessibility, the Surveyor agreed to install central heating in the ground floor of the section of the Old Power House allotted to the Museum, with a substantial contribution from the Balfour Bequest, thus making this floor, for the first time, suitable for the storage of organic material. The specimens displaced from the Examination Schools were then moved to the Old Power House.

At the end of the year agreement seemed close on a scheme for a fire-escape from the galleries of the museum which entailed a minimal loss of precious space and was acceptable to the various authorities concerned. The Surveyor had been requested to make suggestions for an alternative means of escape from the Balfour Library wing of the museum which, in addition to the library, accommodates a number of departmental staff.

As a result of unfavourable reports on the museum workshop arising from inspections by the University Safety Officer and A.S.T.M.S., measures to bring it up to the standards required under the Health and Safety at Work Act were put in hand, financed partly from Departmental resources and partly from funds available to the Safety Officer. Though by the end of the year a good deal remained to be done, satisfactory progress had been made.

The Conservation section, which consists of one Technician who holds the Conservation Certificate of Museums Association and a very competent but unqualified part-time assistant, has continued to do everything possible to save important items from irreparable damage or disintegration. Unfortunately a number of pieces, including a distressingly high proportion of those stored for many years in unsuitable conditions at the Examination Schools, are now fit only for destruction. Efforts have been concentrated on fully achieving limited objectives rather than attempting more than can be completed, which has been the temptation in the past with the ludicrously inadequate staff available. In addition to her work at the bench, the Conservation Technician has spent much time checking atmospheric conditions in the old and new museums, preventive conservation being perhaps even more vital than remedial work or restoration. Once again the help of volunteers from the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies is gratefully acknowledged.

Owing to continuing uncertainty as to the outcome of discussions concerning the museum fire escapes, cases cleared of specimens and dismantled in preparation for the first, abortive, scheme (as reported last year) have not been reinstated. Work has continued on refurbishing and re-arranging exhibitions and on reserve collections at the Old Power House and at 60 Banbury Road.

The roof of No. 60 Banbury Road was re-tiled during the year.

We are grateful to Mr. R. Knutsen, who gave a demonstration of Japanese martial arts for the museum staff which was greatly enjoyed.

Items from the collections were lent to the Museum of Mankind, the Ipswich Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Material lent to the B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, during the previous year was returned. In the two latter cases the Curator escorted the material. Certain mishaps on the return flight from Honolulu, which might have had serious results, illustrated the importance of the museum’s policy that loans be escorted by a member of the staff.

Balfour Library
The following were accessioned during the year: books, 214; pamphlets and sheets, 73; periodical parts, 382; periodical volumes (complete), 87.

The Library is receiving a further two new periodical titles by subscription and seven by exchange. There were 131 new readers registered, and about 300 readers in all used the Library. A total of 1,586 issues was recorded. A grant of £60 from the Inter-Faculty Committee for Latin-American Studies for the purchase of books is gratefully acknowledged.

Our thanks are due to Mr. Stephen Bach for his invaluable voluntary assistance with the cataloguing of the archive material, in particular the Tylor papers.

Work has continued on reclassification of the Library throughout the year. It was decided that the scheme most appropriate to thc Library's collections and aims is Bliss Bibliographic Classification, 2nd edn., and work on applying this has begun. By the end of the year the reclassification and indexing of the Reference section had been completed and work on the Music section was in its final stages. It is hoped that a start can be made on the main bulk of the anthropological literature next year.

Both the Archives and the Photographic Collection have been used extensively this year. A few items have been added to the Photographic Collection, and in the Archives a certain amount of preliminary work has been done on the papers of Miss B. Blackwood and Mr. T.K. Penniman.

Gifts to the Library from the following are gratefully acknowledged: Ashmolean Museum, Dr. A. Barnard, Mr. B.A.L. Cranstone Mr. D.A.L. Cranstone, Mr. A.L. Crawford, Mr. A.G. Credland, Mrs. E. Ettlinger, Mrs. M. Ganguli, Mr. E. Halfpenny, Mr. R.R. Inskeep, Dr. K.P. Oakley, Oriental Institute Library, Mr. J. Parkinson, The Curator, Salisbury Museum, Mr. L. Sotiropoulis, Dr. M.G. Spencer, Mr. G.E.S. Turner.

The Kukukuku of the Upper Watut, compiled and edited by Dr. C.R. Hallpike from the unpublished field notes and some published papers of the late Beatrice Blackwood, was published during the year as No. 2 in the Monograph Series.

Sales and exchanges of Occasional Papers and Monographs amounted to 981; of other publications to 390; and of postcards to 7,230.

Student numbers
                        Ethnology    Archaeology
Diploma                     ––         3
M.Phil.                     ––         1
M.Litt. and D.Phil.                  12         9

Total 1 2         13

One Diploma candidate transferred to Prob.M.Litt. status, one passed, and two failed. One Prob.M.Litt. candidate withdrew. One M.Litt. in Ethnology was awarded.

Audio-Visual Equipment
Video-cassette equipment, supplied by the Audio-Visual Aids Committee whose property it remains, is now held by the Department. During Hilary Term it was used for a total of 54 teaching hours for 32 students, mainly in Geography and Human Sciences.

Members of the Departmental Staff have undertaken commitments beyond their statutory duties as follows:

Dr. A.J. Butt Colson (University Lecturer in Ethnology) gave a seminar at the World Bank, Washington, on development strategies for Amerindian groups; was a member of the Henrietta Hutton Award Committee; was a member of the 150th Anniversary Steering Committee of the Royal Geographical Society; and visited Venezuela in connection with a S.S.R.C. Research Project.

Mr. B.A.L. Cranstone (Curator) served as a member of the Library Committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute, as a Trustee of the Emslie Horniman Anthropological Scholarship Fund, and as a tutor and examiner for the Diploma of the Museums Association.

Mr. R.R. Inskeep (Assistant Curator) served on the Executive Committees of the Society of Antiquaries of London and of the Area Museums Service for South Eastern England. He acted as Field Consultant to the Swaziland Archaeological Research Association, continued archaeological excavations in a coastal cave east of Cape Town, and attended conferences in Leiden, Cape Town, and Stellenbosch.

Dr. Schuyler Jones (University Lecturer in Ethnology and Assistant Curator) was elected a member of the Council of the Society of Afghan Studies and read a paper at a Wenner-Gren Conference at Burg Wartenstein.

Dr. D.A. Roe (University Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology) served on the Editorial Board of World Archaeology and on the Area Archaeological Advisory Committees for the South Midlands and South East England. He examined research theses for Cambridge and Cape Town Universities and also for the Cambridge Archaeology and Anthropology Tripos, Part I.

Mr. D.B. Taylor was on sabbatical leave throughout the year.

The following publications by members of the academic staff appeared during the year:
Colson, A.B. 1978 'Oposiciones Binarias y el Tratamiento de la Enfermedad entre los Akawaio', Coleccion de Lenguas Indigenas, ser. men: 2. Universidad Catolica Andres Bello, Caracas.

- (with G. Bennett and S. Wavell, eds.), 'The Damned: the Plight of the Akawio Indians of Guyana', Survival International Document VI.

Inskeep, R. R. 1978 'The Bushmen in Prehistory' in The Bushmen, ed. P. V. Tobias (Cape Town: Human and Rousseau).

1978 The Peopling of Southern Africa (Cape Town: David Philip).

1978 'An Iron-smelting Furnace in southern Zambia', South African Archaeological Bulletin 33.

Jones, S. 1978 'Nuristan: Mountain communities in the Hindu Kush', Afghan Studies I.

1979 (with L. Edelberg) Nuristan (Graz: Akademische Druck und Verlaganstalt).

Jones, S. 1979 'Opnaelse af rang og symboler pa status hos Kalashaerne i Nuristan', Studies in Material Culture & Symbolic Communications, Hikun, No. 5, Aarhus University.

1979 ‘May the best man win', New Scientist 81, No. 1139

Roe, D.A. 1978 ‘A Survey of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods in Berkshire’ (with a a contribution by J.Wymer), Berkshire Archaeological Society, Occasional Papers I.

1979 ‘Dr. A. G. Ince and the Old Stone Age in the Stour Valley’, in Chislet and Westbere, Villages of the Stour Lathe, ed. K.H.M. McIntosh (published by the editor)

It was agreed during the year that the posts of Administrative Secretary/Librarian and of Assistant Secretary/Assistant Librarian be separated. Mr H.P.G. Unsworth therefore became Administrative Secretary and Mrs. E.J.M. Edwards Librarian of the Balfour Library.

Miss J.S. Walker, Conservation Technician, obtained the Conservation Certificate of the Museums Association.

Mr. L.H. Taylor, Head Attendant, retired after 13 years’ service and was succeeded by Mr. A.J. Boscott.

Mrs. M.G. Fowler retired after nineteen years as Cleaner and was succeeded by Mr.W.H.Smith.

Miss Lesley Westrop resigned her post as Display Technician.

New Museum
The internal fitting-up of the new museum buildings at the 60 Banbury Road site was nearly completed by the end of the year. A few show-cases were not finished and there were persistent problems with the heating system, the unreliability of which made it impossible to establish whether atmospheric conditions clould be maintained at a satisfactory standard.

Visitors to the public exhibition totalled 28,420, including 160 organized parties from schools and other institutions or societies admitted by appointment during the mornings. As in previous years, it was possible to open the museum to the public only from 2 to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

The Donald Baden-Powell Quaternary Research Centre
The centre, housed at 60 Banbury Road and under the direction of Dr. D.A. Roe, had its busiest year, with 113 academic visitors. The provision of equipment and the lack of support staff create continuing problems, the latter being partly solved by the willing help of the research students.

Swan Fund
Demands on the Fund (the purpose of which is to encourage research into the 'small peoples' of Africa) make it impossible in most cases to provide the principal funding of projects submitted, but supplementary grants and the ability of the Fund to act quickly in emergency have ensured the success of a number of research undertakings which otherwise might have failed or never commenced.

Mrs. Bousfield: a Chinese pillow-box and a flea trap. Mr. R. R. Inskeep: a series of Later Stone Age artefacts from Nelson Bay cave, Cape Province, South Africa. Dr. K.P. Oakley: a brass imitation of a gold sequin, probably from Turkey. Rotunda Museum, Woolwich: four Chinese spears collected by General Gordon, a dao from the Nagas of Assam, and an axe from south-western Australia. Miss A.M. Simpson: a small ethnographical collection from Argentina and West Africa. Mr. L. Sotiropoulis: a collection of popular Greek religious art in current domestic use. Lieut.-Commander C.J. Templeton, R.A.N.: two bows and nine arrows from Dutch Guiana. Dr. M. Wenzel: three Apache stick fetishes.

From the Trustees of the British Museum: an ethnographical collection of about 230 items from the Wola people of the Papua New Guinea Highlands. From Messrs. Christie, Manson, and Woods: a carved wood post from the Dogon of West Africa and a wood dish, two carved wood pounders, and a carved stone head from the New Hebrides. From Mr. J. Granville: a carved wood stool from Benin, Nigeria, collected shortly after the expedition of 1897. From Miss P. J. Langton: an ethnographical collection from various tribes of the southern Sudan. From Lawrence Fine Art of Crewkerne: a coconut ladle with a carved wood handle from the Admiralty Islands. From Mr. B. Stuart: a collection of textiles and clothing from the Bedouin of the Aleppo district, Syria.

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