Volume 76 1967 > Volume 76, No. 4 > Reviews, p 515 - 529
FRIIS, Herman R. (ed.): The Pacific Basin. A History of its Geographical Exploration. American Geographical Society, Special Publication No. 38. New York, 1967. xiii, 457 pp.
In his preface the editor, Dr. Herman R. Friis, of the Cartographic Department of the U.S. National Archives, explains that the publication derives from a symposium at the Tenth Pacific Science Congress at Hawaii in 1961. Most of the papers given at the symposium have been revised by their authors; three of an introductory character, and others supplementing the coverage of historical exploration, as well as a final chapter on the assumptions and consequences of that exploration, have been added to round out the book.
The work's geographical scope extends well beyond that in which the defined primary interest of the Polynesian Society lies, including the exploration not only of Oceania, but also of the eastern littoral of East Asia and the western littoral of the Americas. Furthermore the emphasis is on historical geography, and no systematic record or analysis of the ethnological data forthcoming from the exploration of the Pacific basin is attempted. Indeed only one of the papers, that by Professor G. R. Lewthwaite entitled “Geographical Knowledge of the Pacific Peoples”, is wholly within Polynesian Society territory and subject matter. Nevertheless it is desirable that historians, anthropologists and other scholars and general readers specialising in the study of the peoples of Oceania should have as background a grasp of the exploration of the Pacific basin as a whole, and this book will give it to them.
Nine of the fifteen papers making up the book deal with exploration by the nationals of nine countries. The editor in his preface concedes that the publication falls short of an “organised encyclopedic recitation of the chronology of historical events”. On the other hand the breakdown by nations has made it possible to divide the assignments among specialists in the relevant languages and records.
In the rest of this review I shall list the contributions and authors, with brief comment which is necessarily of an eclectic character.
1. The Pacific Basin: An Introduction. William L. Thomas, Jr.
Professor Thomas, in seventeen pages, gives a succinct and useful summary of the physical geography of the Pacific area.
2. The Art and Science of Navigation in relation to Geographical Exploration before 1900. Norman J. W. Thrower.
Professor Thrower, in twenty-one pages, gives a no less useful survey of the history of “Occidental or Western navigational practice”.- 516
3. Map Compilation, Production, and Research in relation to Geographical Exploration. Raleigh A. Skelton.
A detailed survey of the mapping of the Pacific could fill a number of volumes and portfolios. In a masterpiece of concentration Mr. Skelton, who is Superintendant of the Map Room in the British Museum, gives in seventeen pages an historical summary of the main principles—or sometimes lack of principles—applied in that mapping.
4. Geographical Knowledge of the Pacific Peoples. Gordon R. Lewthwaite.
In attempting an appraisal of the protohistoric geographical knowledge of the peoples of Oceania in thirty pages, Professor Lewthwaite spends much of his space in a survey of the controversial question of the range of deliberate two-way navigation. His conclusion is that while much protohistoric long voyaging in the Pacific was unplanned, nevertheless pre-European navigators on occasion probably sailed back and forth deliberately over much greater distances than sceptics over the past decade or so have been prepared to allow. I am a partisan in this controversy, and shall confine myself here to mentioning what I think are the following deficiencies in Professor Lewthwaite's analysis: (a) He ignores the problem of longitude which bedevilled the exploration of the Pacific until it was solved by the introduction of chronometers. (b) He commends Gatty's and Frankel's theory of northings and southings followed by latitude sailings with the aid of zenith stars, and immediately reveals its inadequacy by saying that it presupposes previous voyages of discovery without this star guidance. (c) He apparently does not realise that a rising or setting star is seen as a rising or setting star from all points on a Great Circle running round the earth to left and right of the observer. (d) He claims that the distribution pattern of plants and livestock in the Pacific Islands is evidence of prehistoric deliberate long two-way voyaging, overlooking the fact that any element of design in that pattern is explainable by one-way transfer by deliberate exiles. (e) He claims that tradition supports the idea of prehistoric deliberate long two-way voyaging, but most of the evidence he cites was recorded too late to be accepted on faith as authentic pre-European tradition, and the small residue which survives this test is too inconclusive to bear the weight of the speculations and deductions placed upon it by Professor Lewthwaite.
5. Geographical Exploration by the Chinese. Chiao-Min Hsieh.
Professor Hsieh's nine-page paper, through no fault of the author's, is largely an essay on the non-exploration of the Pacific area by the Chinese whose maritime exploits were westing rather than easting.
6. Geographical Exploration by the Japanese. Nobuo Muroga.
An interesting summary in thirteen pages of the exploration of the Japanese islands.
7. Geographical Exploration by the Spaniards. Donald D. Brand.
8. Geographical Exploration by the Portuguese. Donald D. Brand.
Professor Brand's “Iberology”, expounded in forty-two pages, is impressive, revealing a close acquaintance with the records of the Spanish and Portuguese exploration, not only of the Pacific Islands, but also of the Indies and the west coasts of North and South America.
9. Geographical Exploration by the Dutch. Jan O. M. Broek.
In nineteen pages Professor Broek demonstrates the discovery by the Dutch of great tracts of Australian coast and a number of Pacific Islands.
10. Geographical Exploration by the Russians. Dimitri M. Lebedev and Vadim I. Grekov.- 517
This contribution, to one who, like myself, had somewhat hazy notions of the exploration of the eastern Siberian coast and the Alaska area, is enlightening. The later Russian voyagers who traversed the Pacific Islands were a little too late to contribute substantially to their discovery, but made valuable ethnological and hydrological observations. Professors Lebedev and Grekov cover these themes in thirty-one pages.
11. Geographical Exploration by the French. Robert J. Garry.
Professor Garry struggles manfully with the formidable task of covering the prolific and long-lasting French voyages in the Pacific in nineteen pages.
12. Geographical Exploration by the British. Richard I. Ruggles.
In thirty-five pages Professor Ruggles proves himself a most able summariser and commentator.
13. Geographical Exploration by the United States. Kenneth J. Bertrand.
Distinctions between discovery and exploration, and exploration and hydro-graphic surveying, are conventional rather than absolute. Professor Bertrand interprets exploration by the United States in a very liberal sense, the result being a paper of thirty-six pages including coastal mapping and marine surveying up to the end of the nineteenth century. His notes on sources are particularly valuable.
14. Geographical Exploration in the Twentieth Century. H. Arnold Karo.
Vice-Admiral Karo, a former Director of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, also interprets exploration to include more than is familiar to an historian or anthropologist; his paper, which is no doubt of great value to geographers, includes oceanography, marine biology and geology, geophysical investigations, and modern navigational aids. It occupies twenty-nine pages.
15. The Intellectual Assumptions and Consequences of Geographical Exploration in the Pacific. Wilcomb E. Washburn.
The facts of Pacific discovery and exploration are particularly evocative of humanist comment and interpretation such as Dr. Washburn gives in his paper of fourteen pages. Man arrived late in the Pacific area after having evolved somewhere else. The first to get there were objects of curiosity to the Europeans who came among them afterwards. Dr. Washburn comments interestingly on the motivations of European discoverers, and the impact of their discoveries on the outside world.
Urban Problems in the South Pacific, Technical Paper No. 152, Noumea, S.P.C., 1967. v, 50 pp., illus., maps. Price A$2.50.
It is sad, but not surprising, that so little work has been done on the phenomenon of the emerging urban populations in the South Pacific island groups. The New Zealand and Australian universities have only now shown any significant recognition of these near northern neighbours and administrators seldom find the time or the inclination to submit their attitudes to the tender mercies of the editors of relevant journals.- 518
This miscellaneous collection of ten papers which first appeared in the South Pacific Bulletin between the years 1963 and 1965 is, therefore, at the very least of novel interest. It is a slim volume published in the same format as the Bulletin and contained between similar soft covers. There are numerous indifferent photographs tenuously linked to the text, but the maps are pleasantly uncluttered and legible.
The ten authors write as academics at various stages of research or as administrators actively engaged in South Pacific affairs. The quality of the writing ranges from the competent to the indifferent and the content from the pertinent to the suspect. Compare, for example, Dr. de Bruijn's perceptive, “Urbanization in the South Pacific” with Dr. Dewey's makeweight, “The Noumea Javanese”.
Dr. de Bruijn sets out the nature of the phenomenon of South Pacific urbanization by noting the growing desire of indigenous populations to enjoy the multiple opportunities presented by centres of concentrated activities and to escape from the now apparent inadequate social and economic structure of the rural areas. He also, but gently, suggests that too often does the attitude exist among officials that indigenous peoples should remain in their villages and that towns and cities are necessary evils merely for administrative convenience.
Needless to say, such an attitude is not supported by any of the writers here and indeed, there emerge, coincidentally, two main themes. The first is the varying concern for the absence of opportunity for the inhabitants to participate in any form of local government and the second is the unsuccessful search for a dwelling design which can be built for a price which prospective occupants are likely to be able to afford.
On the first theme, an expansion of Jim Whitelaw's too concise note on municipal government in Suva would have been welcome. On the second, it seems clear that the housing problem is not, as seems to have been assumed to date, one primarily for architects and builders to solve, but for the economists and accountants to investigate. The total social costs of unhealthy, over-crowded structures need to be assessed and balanced against the marginal difference between actual building costs and the price that the lowest income groups can afford to pay. The resultant subsidy is not only the responsibility of the central governments to meet. Trade thrives on centralization and the larger private employers, sooner rather than later, will have to recognise that it is a sound investment as well as an obligation to see to it that their workers are adequately housed.
The South Pacific Commission is to be congratulated on its enterprise in drawing attention to the rapid rate of urbanization within its sphere of interest. It is to be hoped that the collected papers will inspire increasingly detailed studies from a multiplicity of disciplines before, rather than after, social problems begin to assume major proportions.
The Journal of the Papua & New Guinea Society. Vol. 1, No. 1, Summer 1966-1967, Port Moresby (P.O. Box 172). 82 pp., illus.
The appearance of this new journal will provoke most people to ask “And what is the Papua & New Guinea Society?”. The journal cover tells us that it - 519 has “the object of promoting the study of the history and development of the Territory of Papua & New Guinea”—the past, traditional cultures, culture change, the present state of the Territory, future possible developments, economic development, constitutional change, and social change; it welcomes the contributions of both indigenous people and expatriate residents. The list of over 400 members by the end of 1966 (p. 81) includes over 100 indigenes, over 250 expatriates (and interested non-residents), 22 high schools, and two business firms. With the former Administrator as patron, the 400 include 18 Members of the House of Assembly, leading officers in virtually every Administration Department and most Territory Chruches and many academics, chiefly from the Australian National University but also from the University of Papua & New Guinea, the Papuan Medical College, and the Administrative College. The Society can well claim to constitute a forum for discussing the issues of Territory development among people who are both informed and involved. The topics of its public meetings (p. 78) make this role clear, while by my own observation the audiences include a large proportion of the Territory students undergoing tertiary education.
It is risky to predict the eventual content of a journal by its first issue, but high academic standards are clearly intended, together with an attempt to provoke controversy. S. A. Wurm convincingly argues, based on experiences elsewhere and the present linguistic situation in New Guinea, for the adoption of Pidgin as a national language with English as the language of official communication. He mars it only by including an entirely mythical version of the early history of Pidgin. Peter Lawrence, sympathetically considering the elements involved in Cargo thinking and refuting arguments that Cargo cults are necessarily nationalistic and xenophobic, shows how they may hinder rational development. Ian Grosart follows Murray Groves and Jim Davidson in asking for more historical research within New Guinea. J. K. McCarthy recounts Torres' and de Prado's landing at Mailu in 1606 and tantalisingly suggests that the name of Margarida Patrol Post is a heritage of what the Spaniards then called the land, Magna Margarita. R. S. Parker returns to first principles in analysing how political parties work in independent countries. Pat Corbett suggests the advantages of Australian statehood for New Guinea, perhaps after a period of independence. Paulias Matane, concerned at the low proportion of girls in Highland schools, describes some present-day marriage customs there. H. Nelson gives a valuable discussion of post-independence attitudes to African universities, providing a cautionary tale against some of the simplistic assumptions of the Currie Report. Two legends from near Finschhafen and from the Western District complete the original contributions. A 1964 article by Dr. Ilomo Batton, reprinted in a section called FORUM, revives the controversy on a future national name. New Guinean design motifs by Cecil Abel beautify the journal throughout.
The contributions are mostly from academics. The more senior ones usually present somewhat watered-down versions of views they have expressed elsewhere; they leave it to their juniors to start new controversies. Mrs. Corbett's is unfortunately a non-starter, having been ruled out of contention by the Minister of Territories, but Mr. Nelson anticipates future discussions. The non-academic articles are of considerable general interest and are widely mentioned in New Guinea, though only Dr. Batton provokes controversy. The net result is a well-produced volume, attractively printed.
Yet, appearing very intermittently, the journal falls between several stools; it has neither the sense of urgent debate of a politically-oriented weekly like the - 520 New Statesman, nor the literary appeal of a quarterly like the West Indian New World which also discusses issues of history and development in new nations; it is less descriptive than the Journal of the Polynesian Society originally was. It overlaps considerably with the quarterly New Guinea, though the latter is aimed more at an Australian public. Finding exactly the blend of ingredients that will give the Journal of the Papua & New Guinea Society a distinctive niche in the world of periodicals will take time, but a promising start has been made. If it can continue to be a New Guinean journal for New Guinean readers it will indeed be a milestone in the development of social thinking in the Territory.
SERPENTI, L. M.: Cultivators in the Swamps: Social Structure and Horticulture in a New Guinea Society. Assen, Van Gorcum and Comp, N. V., 1965. 308 pp., illus., map. Price: Cloth Nfl.21,75; Sewn, Nfl.19,50.
Dr. Serpenti begins his book with the question: “Frederik-Hendrik Island: Land or Water?” Well might he do so! This island, which lies off the South-east coast of West Irian, is so low-lying that much of it is inundated during the wet season; there are large swamps and lakes which never dry. The inhabitants, whom their neighbours call Kimaam, have to travel by canoe even between sections of a village, and for their gardens they must build up artificial islands of floating grass and mud. Their adaptation to such an environment is a remarkable story. The author's adaptation to it likewise commands our respect.
The book concludes with “some theoretical observations”, but for most of the way theory remains in the background. It is essentially an ethnography, from which the Kimaam emerge as broadly typical of New Guinea, and more particularly of its southern coast, but remarkable for a number of things. Apart from their ecology, they have elaborate plant lore, high rates of suicide and adoption, double burial, dual organization and some odd male initiation practices.
The account of garden technology, with which the book opens, is clear and interesting. We begin to understand why the Kimaam live as and where they do, and why they resisted apparently sensible innovations which Dutch administrators urged upon them. Unfortunately the data are not such as to allow us to establish an exact relation between ecology and social structure. There is little in the way of quantification; for instance, it is hard to assess the relative importance of the various foods. The section on nutrition is, as the author admits, valid for only 30 days in a year, and so possibly misleading. However, the anthropologist can scarcely be expected to make a full-scale study of these matters in the course of a short stay, even when he is equipped to do it.
Serpenti says that Kimaam society is bilateral. There are, in fact, patrilineal tendencies, but the people do not think of their society in this way. Like their neighbours along the coast, they lack a developed patrilineal ideology. Unlike their neighbours, they also lack totemic clans, defining their groups in terms of locality. In this, as in other aspects of their social structure, they resemble the Eastern Torres Straits Island. Men belong to the village sector (and so also the ward and village) of their fathers, real or adoptive. It is not unusual for a man to - 521 join the group of his mother's brother or father, but if he intends to remain he must be adopted. Genealogical recall is short, so that actual and fictive kinship become confused for subsequent generations. Between village sectors there is a presumption of kinship which cannot usually be demonstrated.
The two Kimaam terms for collectivities of kin embrace some or all of the cognates of a given Ego. Serpenti equates the more inclusive term with the personal kindred, but I see dangers in equating—say—the Ifugao kindred, which has defined rights and systematic limitation, with the vaguely defined and optative kindred of Frederik-Hendrik Island. Serpenti sets out to explore its structure and compass. He does not get very far, but it appears that co-operation between kin is a matter of contract rather than obligation. One wonders whether the kin tie is not sometimes “discovered” after the contract has been made.
The author, rebutting Murdock, claims that “marginal livelihood and technical primitiveness “may . . . be among the factors which contribute a strong impulse for the development of such types of structure.” He adds that “a bilateral structure seems to be the most suitable type for Frederik-Hendrik Island” (p. 71). Neither statement is elucidated or substantiated. The author seems unaware that he has strayed onto a battlefield and that others beside Murdock are abroad in it.
Despite certain shortcomings, the chapters on horticulture and social structure lay a sound foundation for the discussion of marriage, adoption and the ceremonial food exchanges which mark certain life crises. These lead us inevitably to a discussion of reciprocity and the theories of Marcel Mauss and Lévi-Strauss (but who is Marcel Strauss?). Whether or not sister exchange, which is the prevailing form of marriage, and food exchange are manifestations of the same principle, Serpenti shows that there are important differences between them. Failure to reciprocate has different consequences in each case. Affinal and ceremonial exchange relations are considered incompatible, and they play different roles in the relations between local groups.
With Van Baal's study of the Marind Anim, Cultivators in the Swamps fills an important gap in the record, and we must be grateful to both authors for undertaking to write in English. May we hope that those who follow will include an index?
BOXER, C. R.: Francisco Vieira de Figueiredo: A Portuguese Merchant-Adventurer in South East Asia, 1624-1667. Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde, Deel 52. 's-Gravenhage: Nijhoff, 1967. viii, 117 pp., plates. Price Nfl. 12.
This is a new, translated and expanded version of an article published by Professor Boxer in the Boletim Eclesiástico de Macau in 1940. It consists of a narrative of some of the activities of Francisco Vieira de Figueiredo, supported by a collection of documents in Portuguese.
Professor Boxer has the habit of leaving us very largely to draw our own conclusions, and this we may expect in a short monograph. He does, however, - 522 suggest at the end that “the vast majority of Portuguese laymen who went out to ‘Golden Goa’ and beyond, did so with the intention of making a fortune by trade” (p. 50). Certainly Vieira seems to have been one of the “smart merchants” who managed, in face of superior Dutch naval power and the decline of the Portuguese State in India, to carry on an extensive and profitable trade. There were others, and this, in Boxer's words, supports Dr. D. K. Bassett's view that “the true merchant who participated actively in the daily exchange and shipment of goods in South East Asia was the man of alien origin rather than the member of the local dynasty or ruling class” (p. 52).
This study thus relates to one of the most interesting topics in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century South East Asian history. The reader of the works of J. C. van Leur and Mrs. Meilink-Roelofsz will note Vieira's close association with the Sultan of Macassar and his remarkable ministers, and the presence at that entrepot of Muslim merchants from Golconda among the English, the Malays, and other foreign traders.
Though Vieira was influential at Macassar, not even he was allowed to build an imposing house. The Muslims, a Jesuit observed, “do not allow the Portuguese to place one stone upon another” (p. 30). Distrust of the Portuguese was no doubt justified. But at this stage Muslims and Portuguese adventurers were drawn together in face of the relentless Dutch pursuit of monopoly in the Moluccas. The result was that the Portuguese were driven from Macassar, and its independence destroyed. The Sultan had insisted that God had “created the world so that all men can enjoy the use thereof. Or do you believe”, his delegates asked some representatives of the Dutch Company, “that God has reserved for your trade alone those islands which lie so far distant from your own country?” (p. 26).
Professor Boxer's latest work affords much of interest. There is still plenty of opportunity in this field, for works both of detailed analysis and of synthesis.
ROBINSON, G. A.: Friendly Mission: The Tasmanian Journals and Papers of George Augustus Robinson, 1829-1834. Edited by N. J. B. Plomley. Hobart, Tasmanian Historical Research Association, 1966. xiii, 1074 pp., maps, illus., appendices. Price A$12.60.
Following twenty-five years of appalling race relations in Tasmania which culminated in the farce of the “Black Line”, a different policy, that of conciliation, was attempted. The architect of the scheme was G. A. Robinson, who with the help of friendly Tasmanian Aborigines, went out into the bush and eventually met and persuaded all the remaining Aborigines to leave their traditional life and allow themselves to be installed in Government settlements. To do this, Robinson led a series of expeditions between 1829 and 1834 along the west coast, to the north-east, the central highlands and to some of the Bass Strait islands. Most of the country he passed through was unexplored, and much of it is uninhabited and rarely visited even today. Whatever faults Robinson had, lack of courage was not one of them. He travelled unarmed amongst frightened and potentially hostile Aborigines, made the first recorded ascent of the Arthur - 523 Range (with a high fever which he attempted to cool by drinking cold water), and confronted murderers and ruffians, removing from their possession the Tasmanian women they had abducted. During these expeditions, Robinson kept a voluminous journal which has remained in manuscript form for 130 years, being edited and published for the first time in this book. In reviewing it, there are two aspects to be considered—the value of Robinson's work and the quality of the editing.
The diaries contain information about a wide variety of topics, notably the contemporary distribution of plants and animals, the nature of the rural economy and settlement pattern, the sealing industry, the theory and practice of race relations and the impact of Western European culture and disease on the indigenous population. Perhaps the greatest beneficiaries of Robinson's work will be the anthropologists. These journals contain not only the largest volume of direct observations on the Tasmanian Aborigines from any single source, but also the only detailed descriptions we have of the Aboriginal inhabitants of large parts of Tasmania, notably those of the west coast. Robinson travelled with the Aborigines for several years, living with them, eating their food, observing their quarrels, deaths and funerals, and his data will provide the basis of any future ethnography of the Tasmanians.
Robinson's description of the social rules and intellectual concepts are meagre due to his own religious and moral outlook, and to the fact that he had only a rudimentary knowledge of the native languages. A rigorous analysis of the scattered information by a social anthropologist, using theoretical models derived from the Australian Aborigines might reveal important information about marriage, concepts of territoriality, the size and organisation of social groups and ideas about religion and death. The best information is in the sphere of material culture and economy, and here his descriptions are more detailed and show more insight than much of the work done a century or more later on the Australian Aborigines by trained social anthropologists.
Much future work in Tasmanian anthropology will be archaeological in nature, and I should like to concentrate on the value of Robinson's work to the archaeologist. Analogy from ethnographic data is the basis of archaeological interpretation. It can tell us the function and context within the total culture of specific objects recovered by the archaeologist and it also reminds us of all the potential information lost and irretrievable in the archaeological record.
Robinson described the manufacture and use of artefacts, recording for example, the function of stone tools as being “for the several purposes of dissecting food, affording relief to the afflicted body, modelling the destructive weapon, stripping the forest animal of its fur, etc.” (p. 190), shell and glass implements were also used for the same purposes. There is a fine description of an ochre quarry near Mole Creek (p. 904), consisting of pits six feet and more deep. The women “dig out the mineral with a short stick, one foot and some one foot six inches, sharpened at the point like a chisel. They use it in the same manner as a carpenter does, using a stone for a mallet ‘removing loads’ of this colouring matter packed up in kangaroo skins in separate bundles”. There were many disused diggings—“Those were large excavations running for several yards underground. Some had fallen in”. It should be possible to relocate this site, though in Robinson's time “The whole of this country had been well burnt. The travelling therefore through the forest was easy”. The area is now covered with dense regenerated bush.
Several separate kernels of the grass tree (Xanthorrhoea australis) were recently discovered in a midden at Rocky Cape believed to be about 3,000 years - 524 old. In July 1830, about four miles east of the cave, Robinson (p. 188) “observed the natives to eat the grass trees; they took a stone and beat down the young grass tree and stripped off the outer leaves. I ate some and found it very nutritious, in taste like a roasted chestnut”. The rock engravings seen by Robinson in 1833 at Greens' Creek (p. 790) have been rediscovered using his text, and although these and other rock engravings on the west coast can be studied in detail nowadays, their position within the total corpus of Tasmanian art can only be established with the help of Robinson's notes. Similar motifs to those of the rock art were drawn “by means of a forked stick the same manner as we use a compass” (p. 543, p. 581) on the walls of bark huts, and cicatrices were common, consisting of circles sometimes “placed on each side of the backbone and about the hips” (p. 582). There are many descriptions of the disposal of the dead, particularily of cremations, where the body was placed in a flexed position and burnt with brush wood sometimes several times. In the process, the bones were poked and broken with sticks and the ashes heaped together in a pile or in a hole covered with grass and sticks (p. 61, 637). Remains of such cremations with elaborate bark superstructures had been found by Peron in 1802, and in a midden at West Point, pits with burnt and smashed human bones have been excavated dating to about 1,800 years ago.
It is salutory to be reminded of what is lost in the archaeological record even in those aspects of culture where one might have hoped for conservation. Robinson described well made huts on the west coast (e.g. p. 144), some twelve feet in diameter and eight feet high, made out of a framework of long bent sticks, stuck into the ground and thatched with grass and bark. These huts were common, but none have ever been rediscovered, even though their probable location has been pinned down to within a few hundred yards in some cases. I have visited the cave at Cape Grim “which had often served as a shelter for the natives during a storm” (p. 183), but there is no deposit in it, as it gets washed out periodically by the sea.
Plomley has devoted much time and effort in preparing these papers, and in his introduction, he outlines some of the difficulties encountered. Fortunately for us, Robinson was verbose and concerned with trivia, but these gave problems to the editor who, wisely, has presented most of the material in its original diary form with only a minimum of corrections. Plomley has however omitted some material, notably “some tedious passages of moralising and religious exhortation . . . and a very few passages so confused as to be quite unintelligible” (p. 8). This is a pity, for although boring, they might give us some extra insight into the personality of this extraordinary man. The index is good, and each journal has been annotated with historical and biographical details, cross references and other comments. Plomley has located most of the geographical features mentioned in the text and the routes taken have been mapped with care. In one of the appendices, Plomley discusses the causes of extinction of the Aborigines, and he emphasises the devastation caused by European diseases, notably pneumonia and, in later years, pulmonary tuberculosis, both of which can be diagnosed from Robinson's descriptions. There is a section in the prelude giving a summary of ethnographic and physical anthropological knowledge about the Tasmanian Aborigines. This is poorly annotated and is out of date in many respects.
This book will be extensively mined for information by students from many disciplines. Mr. Plomley and the Tasmanian Historical Research Association are to be congratulated for having made available for study one of the most interesting ethnographies, not only of the Tasmanian Aborigines, but of hunter-gatherers as a whole.- 525
HALL, Robert A., Jr.: Pidgin and Creole Languages. Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell University Press, 1966. xv, 188 pp. Price, US$7.50.
This is the first general survey of pidgins and Creoles to be published, and as such cannot fail to be welcome. Its author is certainly the most active of modern linguists in this field, with particularly valuable experience in New Guinea pidgin and Haitian Creole.
A brief preface explains the scope of the book and the reasons for its publication. A short introduction then elaborates on these and defines the sense of the terms pidgin and Creole (one is surprised here to find no reference to Cohen 1956). Part I discusses the nature and history of pidgins and Creoles; Part II deals with their structures and relationships, with chapters on phonology, orthography, morphology, syntax, vocabulary and idiom; and Part III comments on their linguistic, social, and political significance. Each chapter is followed by a list of references to the Selected Bibliography, which is the second of three appendices. Appendix A (pp. 149-162) is a very useful set of Sample Texts, and Appendix C lists the phonetic symbols used. An index of eight pages concludes the book.
The general exposition is not only unexceptionable, but on certain topics, such as the genetic relationships of pidgins and Creoles, admirably clear. One's only complaint is with the discursive nature of the treatment, illustrating each point by examples drawn from hither and yon. Hall's purpose, however, is to portray the general characteristics of pidgins and Creoles, rather than the differences between any of them. There are, however, certain aspects which could, and should, have received fuller treatment. Thus Hall gives due emphasis to the later influences of European languages on the pidgins and Creoles deriving from them, but does not adequately deal with the importance of regional forms of the European languages in the history of the Creoles and pidgins—Australian English for New Guinea pidgin, for example. There are both advantages and disadvantages in the use of diaphones, as Hall agrees (p. 31), but his discussions are at times obscured by their use, either because he uses a diaphonic transcription to illustrate a point (p. 29, /forgiv/) before explaining the diaphone (p. 33), or because he does not explain the regional realisation of the diaphone at all (p. 29, the Australian realisation of the vowel in /ket/ is not mid-central but front). The importance of time of colonisation for the particular characteristics of different pidgins and Creoles is also not made sufficiently clear.
In general, one may feel that a big improvement could be made by the addition of a chapter which compared two pidgins or Creoles deriving from the same European source language, and which showed clearly the reasons for the differences between them. Such a chapter might be considered premature in view of the amount of research still needed to make it effective, but this could be said of much that the author has chosen to attempt. Pioneer surveys which avoid problems are never as useful as those which tackle them, and this particular aspect would have considerably strengthened Hall's exposition.
In the detail of the work, there are occasional weaknesses in documentation. The remarks concerning Melanesian consant phonemes (p. 37) are inaccurate. One wonders at times whether the author is aware that most of the linguistic area in which Melanesian languages are spoken is outside New Guinea. “Neo-Melanesian” was in fact a poor choice of name for New Guinea pidgin English, - 526 particularly if it is to be distinguished from “Neo-Solomonic” and Beach-la-Mar. The discussion of what forms can serve as the predicate centre (pp. 84-86) of pidgin and Creole sentences shows considerable ignorance of Melanesian (and possibly African) sentences structure—in certain MN languages, for example, “he is angry” is expressed by “noun” plus possessive suffix.
The Selected Bibliography, while admirably extensive (pp. 163-177), has a few important omissions, such as Schmidt 1956-57, and items by Hjelmslev and others cited in Hollyman 1965. The source of the term diglossia (p. 131) is not acknowledged (Ferguson 1959).
In a book quoting extensively phonetic and phonemic spellings, there are bound to be misprints and omissions which escape the corrector's eye. In this book these are rare: p. 29, line 28, the Neo-Melanesian form of /kæn/ has been omitted; p. 52, line 5 of table 2, there appears to be an unnecessary /j/; p. 64, line 31, the subscript indicating palatalisation of /n/ has been omitted; p. 72, table 4, read “/se/ (DEMONSTRATIVE)”; and p. 131, n. 4, read “Efron 1954, p. 199”.
OSBORNE, Douglas: The Archaeology of the Palau Islands, An Intensive Survey. Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin 230. Honolulu, Bishop Museum Press, 1966. xi, 497 pp., plates, figs., maps, appendix. Price, US$14.00.
The results of Osborne's research in the Palau Islands have been long awaited. The fieldwork was carried out in 1954 and the manuscript completed early in 1958. The present publication, issued in December 1966, is virtually unchanged from the 1958 manuscript.
Much of the work is devoted to a description of archaeological sites, or areas, both prehistoric and more recent, island by island. Some sites are merely surface evidences of midden and sherds, while others embrace extensive complexes of hill terraces, stone platforms and other stone work. A few site maps of a rudimentary nature are supplied. The general absence of site maps is understandable when one considers the area covered in the time available. The reader's impressions of the archaeological evidence throughout the group are greatly assisted by numerous small photographs illustrating the various kinds of site.
A fair idea of the range of field evidence emerges which would be invaluable to anyone considering further work in the area. The archaeological potential thus demonstrated for the southern atolls is of great interest. It is regrettable, however, that there is no summary of the types of sites occurring. Only the earth terraces, the most spectacular of the field manifestations, are discussed as a site - 527 type. The entire work must be thoroughly read to learn anything of stone platforms, walls, docks, and paths, which apparently form an equally important part of the field evidence, or of the stone monoliths and “Great Faces” which receive detailed attention as they occur, but are not summarised. Dimensions of platforms and other features are largely lacking, but again this is due to the wide area covered. Osborne's prime aim was apparently to visit and describe briefly as many archaeological manifestations as possible, rather than describing a few selected areas more thoroughly. In this he has succeeded.
Surface collections of sherds were made wherever possible. As the pottery was almost all plain, analysis was based on thickness of sherds and coarseness of temper, notoriously unreliable indicators in Pacific pottery, and to a lesser extent on colour and rim form. On the basis of a single limited test excavation on a terraced site on Koror, a pottery sequence was established to which surface collections were related. The sequence depends on an assumption that terraces were formed gradually and evenly, an assumption for which no stratigraphic evidence is advanced from this excavation (which was conducted in arbitrary levels) or from the few other terrace excavations. It is equally likely that the terrace in question was formed in one stage, and that the sherds in its fill are either contemporary, or hopelessly mixed.
A great deal of time and space is devoted to analysis of sherd collections, and placement of sites in a sequence according to their surface collections. This is a well tried and widely used archaeological procedure, but in this case, much more convincing evidence is needed from stratigraphic excavations that the sequence is a valid one. Osborne freely admits that many of the sherd collections are too small to be reliable, that many show evidence of “mixing” and that the sequence of periods to which the pottery sequence relates is largely guesswork. Nonetheless he would appear to place far greater faith in the results than this reviewer feels is warranted.
The discussion of the hill terraces is also rather unconvincing. Descriptions of numerous terraced sites are available for the reader to draw his own conclusions. Those familiar with terraced sites in New Zealand and elsewhere in the Pacific (which Osborne, judging from vague references to Maori agricultural terraces, is not) will be able to form their own interpretations. But until reliable stratigraphic evidence from controlled excavations is available the mode of terrace construction, and their use, will be debatable.
Scattered through the book there is a fair amount of information which is not primarily archaeological. Folk tales add colour and are often useful. The ethnographic chapter is too brief to be of great use, except for the description of pottery making, now dying out. Similarly, the chapter on botanical relationships is of dubious value, though one must applaud the desire to place all possible information on record.
The more ambitious aims, of establishing a prehistoric sequence for the group, and of throwing light on the relationships of Palau to other groups, are scarcely fulfilled. The hard preliminary work of locating and assessing the sites has been done but the excavations which will enable us to understand the various manifestations in the Palau group and their significance beyond Palau, have yet to be undertaken.
The major criticism which must be levelled at this book is that its content does not justify either the delay in publication, or the expensive format in which it was finally produced. Neither of these faults is attributable to the author. Rather they reflect a serious problem in archaeological publications relating to the Pacific area. A work of this kind, which is primarily a description of the - 528 range of field evidence, with few important conclusions relating to culture history in the group, should have been produced as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
If it had to be produced in an expensive form, it is regrettable that the high standard of illustrations could not be maintained throughout. While the site photographs are good, the photographs of artifacts and rim sherds are poor, and pencilled figure numbers which should never have appeared are clearly visible. Moreover it is odd that the fine aerial photographs illustrating hill terraces should need to be viewed upside down to gain their proper effect.
CARKEEK, W. C.: The Kapiti Coast: Maori Tribal History and Place Names of the Paekakariki-Otaki District. Wellington, A. H. & A. W. Reed, 1966. 187 pp., illus., 10 maps. Price, NZ$3.25.
In this well-documented book Mr. Carkeek has provided valuable and conveniently arranged material not only for the scholar but also for the general reader with an interest in the Maori past of New Zealand.
A wealth of information is buried in Maori Land Court proceedings, unpublished manuscripts, out-of-print books and scientific journals which are not readily accessible to most readers. Through the author's painstakingly accurate researches this is now available for all, presented in eminently readable narrative and supplemented by detailed observations on particular localities in the section dealing with place names.
It is very easy to fall into the error of judging men's actions in the past by present-day standards, but the author's approach in this respect is historically sound. Deeds of deliberate cruelty are not spared condemnation, for protracted or systematic torture was never part of the Maori code. On the other hand cannibalism is mentioned in the matter-of-fact manner of the pre-European Maori who felt nothing of the repugnance which centuries of conditioning have ingrained into the European mind. It was in accordance with normal custom—it was tika. The author reveals an understanding of earlier Maori attitudes of mind and his apparently casual references to cannibalism are strictly tika also.
One of the most difficult problems for the writer of local history is to decide how fully to cover matters which although affecting the area under discussion had their origins elsewhere. He risks leaving his reader groping for meaning among disjointed fragments, or, if he goes to the opposite extreme, of having what is local so swallowed up in the general sweep of events as to lose its identity.
Until Chapter 10 where the King Movement is discussed the author had no serious problem of this type; but this was a crucial chapter in which a less capable writer might have lost his sense of balance. It is to Mr. Carkeek's credit that, while giving sufficient detail of external events to enable the reader to follow the general course of affairs, attention is still focussed on the Kapiti coast and the reactions of the dwellers there to those events.
The rather abrupt end of the narrative section with its reference to land-selling and a dwindling Maori population leaves this reviewer with a regret that the history was not rounded off with a brief account of the Maoris in the area today— - 529 the amount of ancestral land remaining in Maori hands, the number of Maoris there now and their occupations.
In Chapter 11 giving notes on middens in the area, and clearly there are many of them, it is unfortunate that apparently no radio-carbon dates are available. There is a tantalizing reference on p. 2 to archaeological evidence of early settlement, but as the author remarks “until more excavation and research is done . . . it would perhaps be wiser to avoid discussion of some theories already current concerning these people”. It is to be hoped that in future editions of this book a paragraph or so will be added to Chapter 11 giving a brief summary of the findings of such scientific investigations as have been made. With an increasing interest in Maori pre-history and the application of sound methods of archaeological research, it may not be too long before the “threads of fact [which] must somewhere have been woven into the vast tapestry of their history” are, in part at least, disclosed.
The keynote of the author's treatment of place-names is caution. Although in a few cases he has quoted the opinions of others as to their meanings, his general aim appears to have been to fix the position of named localities as accurately as possible and to summarize what is known of their history, usually from recorded evidence. Attention should here be drawn to the excellent locality maps in this book. The author's investigations have been so carefully made that future researchers may rest assured of the reliability of the information which is presented.
In thus seeking factual accuracy Mr. Carkeek lays little stress on traditional accounts of the meanings of place names—a wise move, for the experience of place name researchers in Europe has shown how misleading folk-etymology can be. Names originating in lost languages or dialects can persist for centuries and there is a very human tendency to draw on the imagination to explain what is no longer comprehensible, and to alter a name accordingly.
It would not be surprising to find that similar transformations had taken place in New Zealand and that the dozens of place names attributed to Turi or the ubiquitous Hau were in fact of much more prosaic origin. The way of the place name investigator is hard, when he once departs from what is fully documented. However logical his conjectures may be they must be able to withstand the criticism of the linguist, the anthropologist, the historian and the geographer, as well as to endure the wrath of traditionalists loth to abandon time-hallowed poetic interpretations.
Mr. Carkeek has set himself definite limits, resisting every temptation to stray beyond them, he has spared no effort in careful investigation to make his book authoritative and has expressed himself in a clear straightforward style.
It is a matter for deep regret that his researches should have come to an end this year with his death at the early age of 35.