Fragments of Samoa

Yesterday I was working with trainee museum curator Kiera Gould on some of the Samoan ethnographic artefacts that the Manchester Museum has in its collection. Below are two examples of these, an intricately carved wooden fan and a hank of tobacco which has been packed for trade and was purchased by the Museum in 1918.

Wooden Fan from Samoa

Wooden Fan from Samoa

Hank of Tobacco From Samoa

Hank of Tobacco From Samoa

Samoa, since becoming independent of New Zealand in 1962, is an independent country consisting of about half of the chain of Samoan Islands in the South Pacific.  The other half of the chain forms American Samoa, which is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Samoa has some fascinating archaeology – particularly the wealth of prehistoric stone tools which have been found there. Leading New Zealand archaeologist Janet Davidson was among the first to pioneer Samoan archaeology when she excavated there in the late 1960s. Discover more about her finds and the archaeological collection at the Museum of Samoa here.

In other news, the piece of research I’m embarking on with fellow archaeology students Stephanie McCulloch and Liya Walsh together with University of Manchester lecturer Dr. Hannah Cobb (link to previous post) is underway. I’ll be constructing a separate blog to publish updates but I’ll keep you posted on here too. The title will be Visible diggers: researching learning through research in archaeology. The repetition of the word research is of course intentional, and its importance for students is what we hope to highlight through this project. We’re currently discussing the strategy for collecting data from University of Manchester archaeology students and how best to present this at the CIfA conference in Cardiff in April. More updates as they unfold!


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