Samoan Material Culture
Figure 193.—Adz, Type V (C. 807):
a, front evenly ground throughout, narrows towards poll; b, back well ground meets sides in distinct longitudinal edges; bevel convex in both directions with slightly oblique chin; c, side, shows front longitudinal convexity and rounding off of front and sides without front edges; d, sections, showing front transverse convexity merging into sides; back slight transverse convexity; back edges distinct.
Figure 194.—Adz, Type V, variation (L. 1472):
a, front partly flat transverse convexity sharper towards edges, well ground, narrows towards poll; b, back, slight transverse convexity, well ground but marred by flake depressions; back longitudinal edges well defined except where interrupted by hollows of deep chipping; bevel, level transversely and slightly convex in other direction; straight chin; curved cutting edge; c, side, thin, well ground, shows part of back; d, sections show nature of front transverse convexity, with rounded sides ground inwards slightly to back edges.
Two problems arise with the two classes of triangular adzes; hafting, and the formation of the cutting edge. In adzes with a wide back surface, hafting presents no difficulty as the flat back of the butt will rest naturally against the foot of the haft. The problem of the cutting edge has to be met by chipping and grinding the lower end of the front median ridge into a surface wide enough to form a transverse cutting edge with the bevel from the back. In adzes with a wide surface in front, the cutting edge is provided for by the technique used in quadrangular adzes, but the presence of the median ridge on the back requires special technique in hafting.
Of triangular adzes with the wide surface at the back, two well-established types occur in Samoa. Of the class with the wide surface in front, one solitary example occurs in the Bishop Museum collection. As Samoan adz technique is more primitive than that of other Polynesian areas with stone available, the triangular adz with the wide surface at the back would appear to be the more primitive form, and the reversed form with the wide surface in front may be regarded as a later development which reached its highest form in the Society, Cook, and neighboring islands.
Type VI. Adzes (Pl. XXXVII, B, 1). The triangular adzes grouped under Type VI have a wide surface at the back and a front median ridge chipped and ground at the lower end into a fairly wide triangular front surface to provide a fairly wide cutting edge. The width of the adz is greater than the thickness. A chipped, unfinished adz from Savaii illustrates the type. (See Pl. XXXVII, B, 1, and fig. 195.)
Figure 195.—Triangular adz, Type VI, unground (C. 825):
a, front; median ridge formed by meeting of sides, chipped away at lower end to form triangular front surface with base below to meet bevel; b, back; wide surface chipped level to meet sides at posterior edges; bevel chipped away ready for grinding which would result in a horizontal chin; c, side; showing sloping of lower end for front surface on right and bevel on left; d, sections, triangular, showing back surface and meeting of sides in front median ridge; section through bevel, quadrangular.
Of five large triangular adzes of this type in Bishop Museum, two are chipped ready for grinding. In both, the two sides are chipped to meet in front in a sharp median ridge with the lower part chipped to form a triangular front surface with the base below. The other three adzes are ground in front, not only over the triangular surface below, but also along the median ridge which is converted into a narrow upward continuation of the front surface. An adz from Tau illustrates the typical treatment of large triangular adzes of Type VI. (See fig. 196.)
Figure 196.—Large triangular adz, Type VI:
a, front, lower triangular front surface well ground continued upwards by grinding away the median ridge; sides evenly chipped; poll, triangular surface; b, back, wide surface bounded by back edges, evenly chipped, convex transversely; bevel well ground, rounded off on to back; c, side showing chipped surface and part of front ground surface, also convexity of bevel from above down; d, sections; showing typical triangular form with front median ridge ground off to form narrow front surface, which expands in lowest section through bevel.
A study of the large adzes shows that if they were cut off below the apex of the triangular front surface, they would resemble the shorter adzes of Type I, wherein the chipping narrows the front surface towards the poll. In some adzes of Type I, it has been noted that the sides actually meet in front and make the poll end sometimes triangular in cross section. With longer pieces of stone, the tendency in Type I has the opportunity to develop and the two sides meet above the apex of the front surface to be continued upwards as a median ridge in the large adzes. Large adzes in which the chipping of the two sides does not meet, constitute Type I, but those in which the chipping of the sides does meet in front, belong to Type VI. The large adzes of Type VI may therefore be regarded as being derived from the smaller adzes of Type I.page 351
Type VII. Adzes (Pl. XXXVII, B, 2). Adzes grouped under Type VII resemble Type VI in having the wide surface at the back and in the treatment of the lower end of the front median ridge to provide a triangular front surface to oppose the bevel in forming the cutting edge. They differ in being relatively much thicker and narrower. As a consequence of the general decrease in width, the front triangular surface and the cutting edge are also relatively narrower. The type is well established with 2 examples from Manila, 7 from Tutuila, and 1 from Upolu. A well-finished adz from Tau illustrates the type. (See fig. 197.)
Figure 197.—Triangular adz, Type VII (B. 8940):
a, front; narrow well ground front surface with narrow cutting edge below and forming narrow strip towards the poll owing to grinding of front median ridge; we'll chipped sides, showing lower curve towards cutting edge due to bevel grinding; b, back well chipped wide surface, bounded by back edges at the sides; well ground bevel with slightly inclined chin; poll surface inclined forwards and upwards; c, side well chipped, showing thickness of adz and bevel convexity from above down; front, convex longitudinally; lower end touched up on grinding stone; d, the sections show transverse convexity of sides, wide back,' narrow front, and relative thickness. The thickness is greater than the width.
A broken adz from Upolu shows less relative thickness, but the other type features are present. (See fig. 198.)
Figure 198.—Triangular adz, Type VII, broken lower end (C. 781):
a, front; narrow, well ground, triangular front surface, continued upwards into narrow strip, narrow cutting edge; sides chipped, curving in to lower edge; b, back; well ground bevel, rounded off on to back, no chin; c, side; chipped surface, bevel, convex from above down; d, sections; upper, shows triangular feature with irregular sides; lower section, quadrangular through bevel.
Large adzes. The collection contains 9 adzes, of which three are quadrangular, belonging to Type I, five are triangular adzes of Type VI, and one triangular of Type VII.
Very small adzes, which are plentiful, are usually well ground on all surfaces except the poll, though occasionally a hollow too deep to remove may be left, especially on the back. In shape, they group under Types I, III, and IV. An example of Type I is shown in figure 200.
Owing to the more extensive use of grinding, adzes of Type I shade off into Type III, of which a fair example is shown in figure 201.
An example of Type IV, subtype a, is illustrated in figure 202.
Shell adzes. Two shell adzes are in the collection of Bishop Museum. The larger one (2973) bears a superficial resemblance to adzes of Type I, in that the sides slope backwards and outwards, and the front, owing to the convergence of the sides towards the poll, is triangular in shape. The back is page 354rounded. The shell, however, is a piece that has been shaped by wave action and grinding has been applied to the lower end in front and with a bevel to form an edge. The smaller adz (2183) shows more grinding in front. The sides are rounded without front or back edges. The poll is pointed. The large adz weighs 19 ounces and the smaller, 5.5 ounces.
Figure 202.—Small adz, Type IV, subtype a (L. 2031):
a, front, wide surface well ground; b, back; surface narrower than front, back edges separating back surface from sides; bevel rounded off, no chin; c, side, well ground; cutting edge broken; d, cross sections showing narrower back with sloping in sides.