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The Coming of the Maori

The Spool Ornament

The Spool Ornament

A type of ornament described as "reels" or "spools" resembles somewhat the bodies of vertebrae when strung together, but in addition to slightly raised flanges at the ends, a flange encircles the middle where the thickness is greater than at the ends (Fig. 81f).Small specimens made of bone and whale ivory resemble beads, and similar whale-ivory beads without the middle flange were found in the Cook Islands and Hawaii. Larger specimens were made of sections of human and moa bone and of stone. Some were notched on the flanges. In the Marquesas, sections of human bone were carved with a number of circular ridges. It is probable that specimens of the spool type were made originally of sections of human long bones with the medullary canal forming a natural hole for suspension. The later copies in whale ivory and stone must have occasioned some difficulty in drilling the longitudinal holes. The spools were found singly in different parts of the country and created differences of opinion as to their use. The problem was solved by James Roy Eyles, who, in digging on the Boulder Bank off the Wairau River in 1939, found a perforated moa egg and below it a human skeleton, with part of a moa skeleton and a necklace of seven whale-ivory "reels" with a perforated whale tooth as a middle page 290pendant. The necklace was described by Andersen (3), who thus made known the real function of the reels. The later magnificent finds associated with seven skeletons in the Wairau Boulder Bank excavation have been described in detail by Duff (30, p. 12). Some of the reels were made of recendy killed moa and these as well as blown moa eggs definitely established the fact already proposed by the findings of Skinner, Teviotdale, and others in moa-hunter camps farther south, that the earlier settlers of New Zealand had spread to the South Island before the moa became extinct. The presence of "reels", whale-tooth pendants, and necklaces of porpoise teeth in the Wairau excavations shows that they belonged to a pre-Fleet culture (Pl XXII).

Fig. 82. Chevroned pendants.a-d, after Skinner (74, figs. 124, 125, 126, 130).

Fig. 82. Chevroned pendants.
a-d, after Skinner (74, figs. 124, 125, 126, 130).