It’s been a busy week looking at cat skulls with Manabu Sakamoto from Bristol Uni. Lots of lovely pics which will hopefully eventually make their way on to the Horniman website once Rupert (our new Documentation Manager) works his magic with our database. Since cat skulls are pretty easy to identify I was a bit concerned that I might not find a sufficiently challenging mystery object for today, but fortunately Helen (our Collections Access Officer) and Nick (one of our awesome volunteers) came through with this (click for bigger):
So what is this object (easy) and more importantly, what is the head of it made from (tricky) and where does it come from (pretty easy once you get what it’s made from)?
Suggestions and questions below – I’ll do my best to answer in good time. Good luck!
The head is made from ….um….Bauxite? Must be some kind of wood :S
I have no idea lol
Bit big for writing and the head is not bauxite.
D’oh Scale is there, must pay attention.
Arrow and horn tip?
Now we’re talking! Arrow is good, the tip is a type of horn material, but that’s the fun bit!
Some kind of spear? No idea what it is made from, but I make a wild stab in the dark and say the designs look North American.
It’s a smaller than a spear and it isn’t North American, but you’re on the right track!
ceremonial doesn’t look strong enough for hunting or combat.
The tip is not bone or stone and it’s not African. However, I think it is a genuine weapon.
Hmm… I think it’s possibly Australian in origin, guessing that the tip is a horn from an extinct marsupial perhaps?
You’re the closest so far. Not horn from a marsupial (extinct or otherwise) and not Australian, but you’re on the right track with both answers!
I was thinking Australian this morning, the aboriginals there being very creative in the weapons department – their spear-thrower (woomera or something like that) firing the fastest projectile on the planet until the invention of the rifle, if I remember correctly. If Australia is on the right track, that suggests New Zealand/Indonesia/Polynesia, but are there any marsupials with horns? Maybe a marine mammal?
PS thank you very much for the dual-measurement scale. Nice to see you remembering your old ma
Maori taiaha? Tip made of jade??
Bit small for a taiaha and the tip is not mineral.
Spear from New Guinea, the tip is made from a Cassowary talon. Awesome!
I’m with neil, but on the other hand it could be a Tasmanian nose-picker made from the baculum of a thylacine!
I’m pretty sure that marsupials don’t have a baculum – it’s a eutherian trait…
As an aside, when a teen, roach clips(as did tooth picks) made from the baculum of Procyon lotor brought a premium, but that was a loooong time ago.
Hell, Google can’t even recognize “coon dick roach clips”???