Larim burnishing pebble

Larim burnishing pebble
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Eastern Equatoria
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1979
Stone , ?Quartz Stone
L = 59.3 mm, W = 47 mm, Th = 39 mm [RTS 27/5/2004].
169.9 g
Other Owners:
Collected by Patti Langton, probably between 20th and 25th March 1979 (presuming the identification of this object as Larim is correct; see notes) [RTS 27/5/2004].
Field Collector:
Patti Langton
PRM Source:
Patti Langton
Purchased 1979
Collected Date:
20 - 25 March 1979?
A naturally occurring pebble that formed part of a potters equipment. This has an irregularly shaped body, oval in plan view and section, but with slightly flattened areas on the upper and lower surfaces. These flat areas, especially the base, display use-wear polish consistent with the use of this object as a burnishing tool. There are also smaller patches of similar wear in places on the sides. The stone is a mottled light pinkish brown colour (Pantone 4665) and may be a variety of quartz. It is complete and intact, and measures 59.3 mm in length, 47 mm in width and is 39 mm thick, with a weight of 169.9 grams.

This was collected by Patti Langton during the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan. It is most probably Larim, in which case it would have been obtained in Eastern Equatoria sometime between 20th and 25th March 1979.

This object is said to be used for decorating pottery, and wear on the object suggests it was used to burnish the surface of the clay. Langton visited the home of a potter at Lomachada on 21st March 1979, when she acquired a wooden spatula that seems to have traces of clay adhering to the surface (1979.20.148); she also obtained a grass tool for adding rouletted decoration to the surfaces of vessels on March 23rd (1979.20.149).

For a set of potter's tools from elsewhere in the southern Sudan, see 1934.8.132, from the kit of the Zande potter Mbitim.

Rachael Sparks 8/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry - [p. 185] 1979.20 (.1 - 206) P[urchase] MISS PATTI LANGTON, DEPT. of ETHNOLOGY & PREHISTORY, OXFORD. Collection made by Patti Langton during the British Institute in East Africa's expedition to the Southern Sudan; Jan. - April 1979. The collection was made in three culture areas during the dry season. The amount paid for each object is listed if the information is known. In Jan. 1979 £1 is equivalent to 95 piastres (pt.) Sudanese. This documentation is based largely upon Patti's own list of objects and her notes on these. Sometimes objects included in the Pitt Rivers alootment of the collection do not appear on her list and have been added here. See Related Documents file as well. [p. 204] 1979.20.136 - 193 SOUTHERN SUDAN the LARIM The Larim live about 50 miles west of Kapoeta in the eastern corner of S. Sudan. They are a non-Nilotic pastoral people, living in permanent mountain villages. They are part of the Didinga-Longarim-Murle language group. They live in the Boya Hills - Boya is the Topasa (neighbouring group) name for the Larim, which is also used by the Administration. Longarim is the Didinga's name for them but they call themselves the Larim, and that is used here. [p. 205] The LARIM The collection was made in two parts. The "PL" labelled material was collected during Pat Langton's stay in a village in the Northern Larim area. The "∆" labelled material was collected by Jill Goudie, one of the archaeologists on the Expedition, from the base camp LARYOK, among the Southern Larim. Money is known among the Larim but it is used only for buying beads for women from Kapoeta, or for the few members of the group who would go to Juba. The women especially were more interested in exchange gifts of salt, cloth & soap. The Larim material is documented in three parts: a) General Larim pieces - no information as to which section of the Larim it comes from b) the "PL" Collection from the Northern Larim, from three of the eight Northern Larim clans c) the Southern Larim material collected by Jill Goudie, numbered "∆". [p. 205] 1979.20.136 - 139 GENERAL LARIM [p. 206] 1979.20.137 Rounded stone used for pottery decoration.
Additional Accession Book Entry [above accession number in red biro] - A5-F35-36.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 24/5/2004].

Related Documents File - 1979.20 contains a typed packing list, which has been annotated; a typed list of objects arranged by Langton collection numbers and with pencil and biro annotations, and a handwritten list of objects by museum number, essentially repeating this information and annotated with PRM photo numbers in red. This handwritten list seems to be the direct source for the accession book entry. There is also a letter from Lynn Williamson (PRM) to John Mack (Museum of Mankind), dated 25th June 1980, asking for identification of this object - 'The only other difficulty... is over pot-making tools. The packing list mentions three tools from the Larim ... one of our 'leftover' pieces is a smooth stone ... no doubt it is impossible to designate such common tools to a particular cultural area; can you say anything about them?'. Mack replied on 1st July 1980 - 'I can't be sure about the pot-making tools. The stone I think should be Larim...'

Written on object - S. SUDAN. LARIM Pottery decorator P. Langton coll. [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 24/11/2004]

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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