Acholi spear

Acholi spear
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1939
Iron Metal , Wood Plant
Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Socketed , Carved
Total L = 2004; spearhead L = 447, blade L = 305, max W at shoulders = 49.5, max th = 5.8; socket L = 477, socket diam = 18.3; shaft diam = 17.3 x 16.5, butt diam at top = 17 x 15.8, at base = 6.5 mm [RTS 11/7/2005].
636.2 g
Other Owners:
Armine Charles Almroth Wright
Field Collector:
?Armine Charles Almroth Wright
PRM Source:
Armine Charles Almroth Wright
Donated July 1939
Collected Date:
By 1939
Spear consisting of an iron spearhead with a leaf-shaped blade, thickened to form a midrib down the centre of each side, with rounded shoulders that curve in to a solid, round sectioned shank before expanding into a socketed base with an open seam running up one side. This is currently a metallic gray colour (Pantone 877C). The socket has been fitted onto a wooden shaft, carved from a tree branch with some surface irregularities and a circular section, stained an orangey brown colour across the surface (Pantone 730C). An elongated iron spear-butt has been fitted onto the base of this, with socketed top and a slightly open seam running down one side; as the seam closes, the body becomes solid and narrows to a flat tipped end. The spear is complete, with some surface rust on the iron. It has a weight of 636.2 grams, and a total length of 2004 mm. The spearhead is 447 mm long, of which the blade part is 305 mm in length, with a maximum width of 49.5 mm and thickness of 5.8 mm, and the the socket base measures 18.3 mm across. The shaft is 17.3 by 16.5 mm in diameter, while the butt is 477 mm long, with a top diameter of 17 by 15.8 mm and a diameter at its tip of 6.5 mm.

Collected by Armine Charles Almroth Wright in Northern Uganda and donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Juy 1939.

This type of spear shares the general proportions found in the heavy bladed spears used by groups such as the Acholi and Lango for hunting big game; they could be thrown, but were often used for close-quarter work. These have split sockets and can be used in conjunction with long thin spear butts, as seen in the Pitt Rivers example (M. Trowell and K.P. Wachsmann, 1952,
Tribal Crafts of Uganda, p. 235 and pl. 59A). For other Acholi spears in the collection, see 1939.7.100-103.

Rachael Sparks 14/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [p. 244] - A.C.A. WRIGHT , ESQ., ... Granville Park, S.E.13. [p. 266, at top of column] July [next to entry] 1939.7.103/104 [double pencil tick after number] - [1 of] Pair of ACHOLI spears, shorter than [1937.7.] 101/102, but with longer blades.

Pitt Rivers Museum label - AFRICA, Uganda. ACHOLI tribe. Spear with socketed iron head and butt. d.d. A.C.A. Wright 1939. 1939.7.104 [plastic coated label, tied to object; RTS 11/7/2005].

Written on object -
1939.7.104. UGANDA. ACHOLI. d.d. A.C.A. Wright [RTS 11/7/2005].

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 30/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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