Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
1969.29.106 .1 .2
Sudan ?
[Southern Sudan?]
Date Made:
Nineteenth Century?
Iron Metal , Wood Plant
Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Socketed , Carved , Stained , Polished
Total L = 1540; spearhead L = 311, blade L = 130, max W = 44.5, th = 2.8; shank W = 11.5 x 5.2, socket base diam = 18.2 x 14.8; shaft diam top = 17.1, spear butt L = 312, W = 17.7, th = 16.4 (at top), W = 12, th = 12 mm (where butt becomes solid) [RTS 12/
439.7 g
Other Owners:
Possibly collected by one or more members of the Morland family in the 19th century, in the course of Military Service; presented to the Abingdon Museum by the family; transferred from there to the PRM sometime after June in 1969 [RTS 4/3/2004]
Field Collector:
Morland family?
PRM Source:
Abingdon Museum
Transferred 1969
Collected Date:
Nineteenth Century?
Spear consisting of an iron spear-head with a leaf-shaped blade, ogee or s-shaped section, and gently rounded shoulders that curve in to a rectangular sectioned shank. A series of long barbs have been chiselled away from opposite edges and faces of this, pushed down and in towards the body. Two of these barbs are truncated, and may have broken off at their tips. This opens up at the base into an expanding socket with an open seam up the front. It fits onto the top of a wooden shaft, the end of which has been shaved to a point. This has a straight, narrow body, with a series of flat surfaces shaved down the sides to give it a faceted appearance. It has been stained a dark reddish brown and then highly polished (Pantone 4625C). The end of the shaft has been forced into the socket of an iron spear-butt; this also has an open seam down the front, becoming solid below and tapering to a pointed end. The sides of the butt are also faceted with similar 'shaving' marks. There are signs of repair, in the form of a square hole punched through the socketed base of the spear-head, and into the wood of the upper shaft below, and a similar hole punched through the top of the butt, with a nail hammered through it into the wood below. These may well be repairs carried out by the collector, rather than indigenous. The spear is complete; the tip of the blade has been bent, probably through use, there is some surface rust on the iron elements, now a dull grayish brown colour (Pantone 440C), and traces of white paint on the butt end and lower shaft. The object has a weight of 439.7 grams and a total length of 1540 mm. The spear-head is 311 mm long, while its blade has a length of 130 mm, maximum width of 44.5 mm and thickness of 2.8 mm, measures 11.5 by 5.2 mm across the shank, and 18.2 by 14.8 mm across the base of its socket. The shaft has a diameter of 17.1 mm at the top, while the spear butt is 312 mm long, 17.7 mm wide and 16.4 mm thick across the top, and 12 mm wide and 12 mm thick where the body becomes solid again below the socket.

Possibly collected by one or more members of the Morland family in the 19th century, in the course of Military Service; presented to the Abingdon Museum by the family; transferred from there to the Pitt Rivers Museum sometime after June in 1969.

The faceted shaving down the shaft and spear-butt is very distinctive, and should help identify the cultural group that this object belongs to; it has not yet been matched to anything else catalogued from the southern Sudan.

Rachael Sparks 30/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [p. 50] - 1969.29 (1 -124). G[ift]. The Morland Collection, transferred from Abingdon Borough Museum, Berkshire. It seems likely that the collection was made by members of the Morland family during military service, and the Indian items at least were probably collected before the middle of the nineteenth century. [p. 81] 1969.29.106. ? SOUTHERN SUDAN. Spear, iron leaf-shaped head of Z-section, with two rows of barbs between blade and socket; wooden shaft with pointed iron ferrule. Length 154 cms.
Added Accession Book Entry [p. opposite 50]- See File 001.9 Accessions 1969 for correspondence, & photograph of group including two members of the Morland family. Such members of the Morland family as could be consulted agreed to this gift.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 28/1/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - 1969.29.106. ?S. SUDAN. SPEAR. Morland Coll. Trans. Abingdon Mus. [plastic label with metal eyelet, tied to object; RTS 12/7/2005].

Related Documents File - RDF 1969.29.1-124 contains correspondance between Beatrice Blackwood of the PRM and Eve Harris, Director of the Abingdon Borough Museum, regarding acquisition of the Morland Collection. It also includes a photograph in which two members of the Morland family, Lieutenant Morland and J.T. Morland esq. are pictured, dated June 20, 1895. Blackwood raises the question of whether Lieutenant Morland could be the collector of the Indian specimens in this group. An undated typed note signed by Blackwood sets down the known background to this collection which 'was presented to the Abingdon Museum by the Morland family, one or more of whose members acquired it in the course of military service ... it seems likely that the collection was made sometime during the first half of the Nineteenth Century'. Two surviving members of the Morland family who lived near Abingdon were contacted, but could not add any further information about where or when it had been acquired [RTS 4/3/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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