The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxfordshire and…The General (part 3)


The General in the title is Lieutenant-General Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers, the extraordinary archaeologist whose vast accumulation of objects formed the founding collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum. This post deals with his work in Oxfordshire. If at any point you would like to know more about the objects you can search the Museum’s online object collections database using the accession numbers provided in the text.

This is an earlier version of the text on pages 281-5 of World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: a characterization that expands slightly on the partial destruction of Dorchester Dykes and their role in the genesis of the 1882 Ancient Monuments Act.  I’ve decided to post this because – with the heritage sector under increasing pressure –  it can be beneficial to remember what a world without professionalization, guidance and legislative protection looked like. If you would like to cite anything here then please find what you require in the finished chapter.

You can read my introduction here, the chapter itself here and my concluding thoughts here.

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The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxfordshire and…me (part 1)


In 2008 a cool looking job was advertised at the Pitt Rivers Museum funded by the lovely people at the Institute for Archaeologists. I was (somehow) lucky enough to get it and subsequently spent the next two years working on all sorts of extraordinary objects in extraordinary surroundings (you know a job is special when the H&S talk consists of the instruction ‘don’t stab yourself with a poison arrow…’). For the latter part of my time there I worked on the project World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: a characterization. Conceived by Dr Dan Hicks (Curator of Archaeology) and managed by both Dan and Dr Alice Stevenson (Researcher in World Archaeology), the project involved a host of specialists examining over 30,000 objects from 134 countries [1] in a process not too dissimilar from a  MoRPHE post-excavation assessment. The project was to result in a book (published on the 8th March, available to purchase now), and very kindly I was encouraged to throw my hat in the ring with a chapter on Oxfordshire (co-authored with Dan Hicks). The sheer size of the book (500+ pages) meant there was simply not space for everything, so I’ve cobbled together a few of my leftover notes into a series of blogs. Continue reading