Volume 32 1923 > Volume 32, No. 127 > Notes and queries, p 184-186
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[342] The Old Stone Age in Siberia.

In the “American Anthropologist” (XXV., p. 21), Gero von Merhart describes several sites in the Yenesei region in which the Palæolithic is represented. Judging from the illustrations, a number of Mousterian types are represented among the stone implements, but associated with them are a number of bone objects closely resembling Magdalenian forms from Western Europe. In a note B. E. Petri announces the discovery of the same types of implements near Irkutsk. This discovery of the Palæolithic so widely distributed in Siberia is the more unexpected since in spite of diligent search no sign of human handiwork older than the Neolithic has yet been found in any part of the whole Chinese Empire.

[343] Kumara God in the Grey Collection.

Among the articles recently transferred to the Auckland Museum in the Grey Collection, perhaps the best-known is the small kumara god from the Taranaki district. In a letter to Mr. Geo. Graham, Captain Gilbert Mair gives the following note about it: “That little atua kumara was brought from Taranaki by some Arawa who were members of the great Onuiwhenua ope, under Tuwhare, Patuone, etc. I saw it dug up and presented to Sir George Grey by Pango, the famous tohunga of Ngati-whakaue in 1866. Matuatonga is not its proper name—I have forgotten it. Matuatehe is still hidden on Mokoia.”

[344] Pottery in the Solomon Islands.

The Rev. C. E. Fox, Litt.D., has presented to the Otago University Museum fragments of coarse red pottery found in road-making at Pamua, north coast of San Cristoval. The pottery is coarse-grained, undecorated, and of poor quality, and appears to have been made by the coil method. The art of pottery-making has long been lost on San Cristoval, but the natives know traditionally of spots where the clay was obtained. Not long ago a complete pot was dug up on Ugi, but it was broken up before it could be seen and described.

[345] The Lizard in Maori Art and Belief.

In the “New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology,” [Vol. V., No. 6, pp. 321-35] Mr. Elsdon Best gives an account of the part played by the lizard in Maori art and in Maori myth and superstition. He notes that in Maori wood-carving it is the sole animal which is treated realistically. It would be interesting to have Mr. Best's comments on it as rendered in bone or as painted on the flat. The ancient bone-flute in the British Museum on which a lizard is etched realistically is figured but is not mentioned in the text, while the lizard realistically carved in the round in bone, which comes from the East Coast of the North Island, and is now in the Dominion Museum, is neither figured nor described. This object, which is pierced for suspension as a pendant, is presumably an amulet. Among the numerous rock-paintings in South Canterbury there was a very - 185 realistic lizard rendered in black. This interesting and important piece was cut from the rock by a visitor, and is now, if it has survived at all, in private hands in America. Mr. Best discusses at length the part played by the lizard in Maori belief, and suggests that the horror with which it was regarded is a legacy from ancient times in Indonesia, when the crocodile made the crossing of streams and rivers a matter of danger. Though the lizard tribe as a whole were regarded with fear and aversion, the tuatara, largest and most fearsome-looking of New Zealand reptiles, was collected and eaten with avidity.


[See “Journal Polynesian Society,” Vol. XIX., p. 225, Notes 216 and 217 re the lizard in Maori carving.—EDITOR.]

[346] Australian Culture Elements in the New Hebrides.

At the Sydney session of the Pan-Pacific Congress it was suggested by Mr. A. S. Kenyon that the cylindro-cornuate implements of the Australian aboriginals described by Etheridge in Memoirs of the Geological Survey of New South Wales, might possibly be related to the cylindrical “death stones” of Tanna. He pointed out, however, that the inland distribution of the Australian implements was against such a hypothesis.

[347] Movements of Anthropologists.

The Rev. C. E. Fox, M.A., Litt. D., has been on leave in New Zealand. He delivered lectures at Otago University and also to the Archæological section of the Otago Institute. Dr. Fox presented to the Otago University Museum a large amount of ethnographic material from San Cristoval, including a rough stone statue, with “goatee” beard, of the Easter Island wooden-figure type, and he hopes to send to the same institution a small holed dolmen with skulls. Dr. Fox brought with him Monongai, of Heuru, from whose dictation a great amount of information relating to San Cristoval material culture was taken down.

Dr. Spencer Trotter, who is conducting courses in Anthropology at Swarth-more College, has left part of his work in charge of Dr. Frank G. Speck of the University of Pennsylvania, and is leaving for a trip of reconnaissance in the South Pacific.—American Anthropologist.

Reports from Commander J. C. Thompson and Hans G. Hornbostel, representing the Bishop Museum, indicate successful outcome of the explorations in Guam and the southern Marianne Islands. Much information has been obtained about the culture of the vanished Chamorros, a flourishing race at the time of Magellan's visit in 1521. Under the direction of M. F. Malcolm, assisted by the Governor of Saipan, the remarkable ruins on the Japanese Island of Tinian, visited by Anson (1749), Mortimer (1791) and Freycinet (1817), are being studied with a view to enlarging the knowledge of migration routes and inter-relations of Pacific peoples.—Science, quoted in American Anthropologist.

Dr. Forest B. H. Brown, Botanist of the Bishop Museum at Honolulu, and Dr. Elizabeth Brown, Research Associate in Botany, have returned from two years spent in the Marquesas Islands as members of the Bayard Dominick Expedition, bringing with them much new information bearing on the migrations of the Marquesans and other branches of the Polynesian race derived from a study of their food, ceremonial, and medicinal plants.—Science, quoted in American Anthropologist.

W. E. Armstrong, M.A., has returned to Cambridge from New Guinea, where he investigated the ethnology of the Massim District. During his stay there he held the post of Assistant Government Anthropologist to the Government - 186 of Papua. He is at present Lecturer under the Board of Anthropological Studies in the University of Cambridge.

T. Barnard has just returned to England from ethnological field-work in the northern New Hebrides.

C. B. Humphries, M.Sc., has prepared for publication his report on the ethnology of Tanna, Annaiteum, Futuna, and Aniwa, and is returning on a second expedition to the southern New Hebrides.

E. W. P. Chinnery is continuing his ethnological studies in New Guinea.

A. R. Brown, M.A., formerly in Tonga, is now Professor of Social Anthropology in the University of Cape Town, where he has been joined by A. J. H. Godwin, B.A., as assistant.

A. R. McCulloch, of the Australian Museum staff, recently returned from an expedition to Lake Murray, Papua, and is now leaving for field-work in zoology and ethnology in the islands of the Gulf of Carpentaria.


WE are pleased to note that the above Section of the Auckland Institute has opened its 1923 Session under favourable conditions, and would commend its activities to other Scientific Societies in New Zealand with the hope that some may follow in their lead. The syllabus for 1923 covers six lectures, and the following subjects will be dealt with. “Folk Music as an Ethnological Study,” “Maori Place Names,” “Migrant Maori Place Names,” “Burial Customs of the Maori,” “Primitive Medicine,” “Physical Types of the Maori Race.”

The President of the Section for 1923 is Professor J. C. Johnson, and Mr. J. H. Hudson, Secretary. Last year these positions were filled by Dr. P. H. Buck, D.S.O., and Mr. Geo. Graham respectively.