Anuak spear-head

Anuak spear-head
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan]
Cultural Group:
Anywaa [Anuak]
Date Made:
By 1936
Iron Metal
Forged (Metal) , Hammered
L = 420 mm, L tang = 85 mm, Max diam tang = 8.5 mm, W blade = 40 mm, Th midrib = 11.5 mm, th blade edge = ca. 1 mm [RTS 27/7/2004].
[with sheath] 332.3 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Presumably collected by Evans-Pritchard during his period of fieldwork amongst the Anuak between early March and May 1935 [RTS 18/6/2004].
Field Collector:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Donated 1936
Collected Date:
March - May 1935
Spearhead made from a single piece of iron and now used as bride wealth. This consists of a medium sized round sectioned tang with pointed end, gradually tapering out towards its junction with the blade; this has rounded shoulders on a narrow, elongated body with straight sides tapering to the tip, which could not be seen as it is currently covered by the sheath. A prominent raised midrib, somewhat angular, runs down the centre of the length on both sides as a continuation of the line of the tang. The spearhead is complete and intact, but there are numerous small nicks along the cutting edges suggesting active use as a spearhead in the past. There is also some surface rust, and the metal is currently a dark metallic reddish brown colour (Pantone black 7C). It has a weight of 332.3 grams, with sheath 1936.10.23 in place, and is 420 mm long in total (with sheath in place), with the tang by itself measuring 85 mm in length. The tang has a maximum diameter of 8.5 mm; the blade is 40 mm wide, 11.5 mm thick at the midrib and around 1 mm thick along the edges.

Collected by E.E. Evans-Pritchard during his fieldwork amongst the Anuak, which took place between early March and May 1935 (E.E. Evans-Pritchard, 1940, The Political System of the Anuak of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, p. 3). For the matching sheath, see 1936.10.23.

Evans-Pritchard describes these spears in his book on the Anuak: “In old times spears were rare and treasured heirlooms. These old spears, the two chief types,
joo [jo] and dim [dem], being tanged, often form part of bride wealth and are worth between 100 and 150 piastres each” (E.E. Evans-Pritchard, 1940, The Political System of the Anuak of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, p. 56) - which was around £1 at that time. For another jo, see 1936.10.21; this is longer with more pronounced shoulders. For an example of the type known as dem, see 1936.10.9.

This object is currently on display in the Upper Gallery, case 57A.

Rachael Sparks 25/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [p. 410] - 1936 [insert] 10 [end insert] E. EVANS-PRITCHARD, M.A., Exeter College, Oxford. - Specimens collected by himself in the EASTERN SUDAN, while travelling with a Grant from the Rockefeller Leverhulme Trustees, viz: [insert] 21-22 [end insert] - [One of] 2 Jo , ancient, tanged spear-heads of iron, now used as ‘bride wealth’ (value about £1 each), ANUAK.

Card Catalogue Entry - Information repeated from accession book entry. Note that this card had been wrongly annotated with object number 1936.10.9 [should be 1936.10.22], its related negative reference and a length measurement. It looks as though this object was mistakenly labelled 1936.10.9 in the past (see below and the database entry for 1936.10.9) [RTS 30/1/2004].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - Jo , ancient, tanged spear-head, now used as 'bride-wealth' (value about £1). ANUAK, E. SUDAN. d.d. E. Evans-Pritchard, 1936 [rectangular metel edged label, now stored in RDF; RTS 13/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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