Gathered from all parts of the earth, the latest acquisitions to the Peabody Museum's huge archaeological and ethnological collection are now being prepared for public exhibition and for special assistance to research students.
Most important are the 75 trays of prehistoric tools and implements, which the Burma expedition, sponsored by the Academy of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia, the American Philosophical Society, and the Peabody Museum, collected in the early part of the year. Advancing along the Irrawaddy River deep into the heart of southern Asia, the expedition opened up entirely new areas for the study of man's early development and has shed much light on the Pleistocene age, which scientists estimate ended several hundred thousand if not half a million years ago.
Find Different Civilization
While in Burma, the party discovered traces of a civilization totally different from Europe's first signs of man in the lower-Paleolithic age. Whereas the cave men of the primeval western world fashioned fairly useful implements, the early Burmese peoples had extremely crude contrivances with which to secure their food and protect themselves. When the geologists examined chipped rocks in the gravel of the Irrawaddy Valley, they had great difficulty determining whether natural or whether human forces had been at work.
The findings of the party in the Far East point to the existence of rich Cenozoic deposits throughout the East Indies, Indian, and China. Scientists are particularly eager to penetrate into southern China, from which the Sino-Japanese War now unfortunately excludes all research parties.
New Accessions Varied
There are dozens of other new acquisitions being catalogued and arranged. From Fukien, China, the Museum has obtained a model of a fantastic headdress worn by women in the fields and buried with them when they die. To get an actual headdress of this kind would be almost impossible since the Chinese government new forbids their being worn and those that do remain are highly treasured by the natives.
Two human heads have been secured from the village of Tambunum in New Guinea on the upper Sepik River, where white men have seldom been and which is one of the few regions in the world where head-hunting still flourishes. These heads once belonged to enemy tribesmen and were set up in the village "men's house," a ceremonial building for men only, to drive away evil spirits.
America is represented by a fetish jar and club of the Zuni Indians in New Mexico. Such sacred objects are extremely difficult to obtain, since they are still used by many Zuni tribes today.
A number of elaborately carved wooden ancestor images from the island of Nias, near the coast of Sumatra, are now in the possession of the Museum along with gifts and loans from every corner of the world.