The past, present and future values of the Polynesian stone adzes and pounders collected on the Pandora

Richards, Michelle J., and Günther, Jasmin (2019) The past, present and future values of the Polynesian stone adzes and pounders collected on the Pandora. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology, 29 (1). 4.

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After the Pandora's partly unsuccessful pursuit of the Bounty mutineers through the Pacific islands in 1791, the ship ran aground on a submerged reef and sank 140km east of Cape York, Queensland. Archaeological excavations revealed that the Pandora crew, in addition to their primary objective, made ethnographic material collections during their voyage, including 25 stone adzes and 5 stone pounders. These collected objects are of particular interest because they have escaped the past processes that might have impacted them had they made the journey back to Europe. In archaeological studies, for instance, these adzes were not included in 20th century typological analyses concerned with understanding the initial human migrations into Oceania, or in more recent geoarchaeological research that seeks to understand Polynesian voyaging, social networks and exchanges.

Our paper contextualises the adzes and pounders found on the Pandora to understand the engagement between the European crewmembers and the local people they encountered during their journey through the Pacific Islands. The Pandora crew had participated in the early colonial collecting practices that were foundational to European museum collections and the beginnings of anthropological and archaeological enquiry in the Pacific. On the other hand, the Polynesian participants likely benefited from the engagement in ways that suited their own agendas. We argue that the Pandora objects and similar museum collections as a broader assemblage are important not only for archaeological research, but also because they potentially continue to hold contemporary significance for Polynesian people today and are a legacy that can benefit future generations.

Item ID: 60578
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2047-6930
Copyright Information: © 2019 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See
Funders: James Cook University (JCU), Aarhus University (AU), Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship, Australian National University Vice Chancellor's Travel Grant, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC CBAP Laureate Project FL140100218.
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2019 07:47
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4513 Pacific Peoples culture, language and history > 451301 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl. New Zealand) @ 50%
43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430108 Maritime archaeology @ 50%
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