Rumbek Jur shaft straightener

Rumbek Jur shaft straightener
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] El Buheyrat Rumbek District
Cultural Group:
Rumbek Jur Beli
Date Made:
By 1929
Wood Plant
Carved , Perforated , Stained
L = 482 mm, W body = 69.5 mm [RTS 11/2/2004]
Other Owners:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Field Collector:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Donated November 1929
Collected Date:
By 1929
Tool for straightening spear shafts, carved from a single piece of wood. It consists of a short handle with irregular, slightly convex end, delineated from the shaft below by a deep groove cut around the body 13 mm from this point. The shaft is roughly round in section, and tapers out slightly to the other end of the handle, also defined by a deep groove that runs two thirds the way around the body, but leaves the upper surface smooth. The body swells out from here, then tapers in to a conical knob at the other end, that is oval in section. The swollen body has been hollowed out, with an cut away opening in the upper surface that slopes downwards, with marked use wear at this point indicating that the object had been used prior to entering the Pitt Rivers Museum collection. A second area has been cut away from the underside, where similar use-wear smoothing is evident. This area is partially covered with a dark, glossy stain, possibly some kind of residue. The surface of the tool is dark brown (Pantone 448C) and slightly glossy all over, suggesting that it has been stained and polished; the original lighter orange brown colour of the wood is visible in patches on the body, and inside the hollowed out area, which has not been stained (Pantone 470M). There are clear tooling marks all over the body, showing the surface to have been pared with some kind of a blade. The object is complete and intact, with some splits in the wood around the body and opening on the underside of the tool; the body and lower part of the handle also contain a number of small to medium holes, probably representing some past infestation; these do not appear to be active. Total length 482 mm, length of tool end 187 mm, diameter of handle end 24.2 mm, width of knob at other end 20.7 mm, maximum width across body 69.5 mm, width of cutaway opening 48 mm.

Collected by Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard in the Rumbek district, which lies in the modern administrative area of El Buheyrat, probably sometime between March and April 1929. It came from the Mittu-speaking Beli sub-group of the Rumbek Jur.

For slightly different styles of shaft straighteners, see 1922.25.1 and 1940.12.624-625 (Lotuko), 1929.47.2 (Rumbek Jur) and 1940.12.623 (Bari).

Rachael Sparks 18/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [VIII, p. 322] - [insert, pencil] 47 [end insert] E.E. EVANS PRITCHARD , Esq. Nov. [insert, pencil] 1 [end insert] - Wooden lever for straightening spear-shafts, with elongated slot for the shaft. BELI ('JUR') tribe (Mittu-speaking), RUMBEK district, BAHR-EL-GHAZAL PROVINCE, ANGLO-EGYPTIAN SUDÂN. [...] The above were collected by himself.
Additional Accession Book Entry [p. 321] - 1929.47.1 No given AP L - 480 mm [in red biro] A20 F1 22.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 27/4/2004].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label -
Lever for straightening spear-shafts. BELI ('JUR') tribe, RUMBEK dis[rict], BAHR-EL-GHAZAL PROV[INCE], A[NGLO]-E[GYPTIAN] SUDAN. Pres. by E.E. Evans-Pritchard 1929.47.1 [stuck onto body of object, RTS 11/2/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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