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The Atoll of Funafuti, Ellice group : its zoology, botany, ethnology and general structure based on collections made by Charles Hedley of the Australian Museum, Sydney, N.S.W.

Weapons and Tools

page 248

Weapons and Tools.

Offensive Weapons.

Fig. 14.

Fig. 14.



As previously stated on p. 45, the Ellice Group has enjoyed peace so long that not only have the making and handling of weapons fallen into disuse, but all instruments of war have now disappeared. No exact account of these seems to have been preserved in literature. Shark tooth knives were described to me by old men and are recorded by early travellers. Figures of such in the Ethnological Album* are referred with doubt by Edge-Partington to the Ellice Group.

In the absence of extinct originals, models locally made are of some interest. An aged, white-haired, and tatooed native of Funafuti made for me such of two weapons as previously used by his tribe:—

A missile, "apa," (fig. 14) is a smooth, spindle-shaped piece of hard, heavy wood, probably Pemphis, sharply pointed at each end. It weighs one pound five ounces, and measures two feet in length and one and three quarter inches in greatest diameter. In battle it was thrown at an enemy, and was probably capable of inflicting an ugly wound upon a naked foe. The Tahitians had "the tiora, a polished dart about three feet long, cast from the hand generally in the naval engagements, but occasionally on land." From the Gilbert Group, Edge-Partington figures a missile club, "goramaton," similar to this. An Australian weapon, "konnung,"§ closely resembles this pattern in use and appearance. Indeed so simple an article might be expected to independently recur in different quarters of the world.

The model of the sword-club, "lakautaua," (fig. 15) is roughly made, but probably presents the general appearance of the ancient weapon. A narrow lanceolate blade, truncate at the extremity, tapers to a rounded handle. From a central longitudinal keel, where the thickness is an inch and a quarter, the sides thin down to a square edge a quarter of an inch thick. At half the weapon's length, a notch half an inch deep is cut on each side. From a point an inch

* Loc. cit., i, pl. xxxvii., figs. 6-11; pl. xxxviii., figs. 1-5; Additional Notes; ii., pl. lxxxix., fig. 8.

Ellis—op. cit., i., p. 298.

Id, loc. cit., ii., pl. xcv., fig. 12.

§ Brough Smyth—loc. cit., p. 302, fig. 64; and R. Etheridge, Junr.—Macleay Memorial Volume, 1893, p. 240.

Of. Wilkes—loc. cit., v., p. 16.

page 249distant from these notches to the distal end the blade is ornamented on both sides and faces by twenty shallow grooves, separated by interstices of equal breadth, so alternating with those of the opposite surface as to serrate the edge of the weapon. These grooves perhaps represent a degeneration from the toothed edge of certain Samoan clubs.* The use of these teeth and notches probably was to catch and snap the spears of an enemy.

The lakautaua is of hard wood, probably Pemphis; it weighs one pound three ounces, and measures one foot seven inches in length, and two and a half inches in breadth.

Among the Penrhyn Islanders, Lamont remarked that:—"The long, light, paddle-shaped club used by the women is called 'coerarai,' and is used in battle principally for breaking the spears of the men of the opposite party."

The rough sketch and brief notice do not admit of satisfactory identification, but a species of lakautaua is suggested to me by a drawing in the Ethnological Album, described as a "flat wooden fan, stained black in places: Tokelau Island, Union Group." Should "fan" be a grimly ironical misnomer for a messenger of death, the black stains may be those of human blood. The probable inaccuracy of the ethnological statement is countenanced by the geographical confusion of this quotation.

A club figured by Edge-Partington§ as from Fiji, has several features in common with the Funafuti model, such as the proportion of handle to blade, and the raised central keel and distal truncation of the latter. Perhaps one of a group of articles figured by Wilkes from the Kingsmills stands for another.

* Such as Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pl. lxxiv., fig. 2.

"Lamont—Wild Life among the Pacific Islanders, 1867, p. 133.

Edge-Partington—loc. cit., ii., pl. xcvi., fig. 3.

§ Loc. cit., ii., pl. liv., fig. 1.

Wilkes—loc. cit., v., p. 79, the object lying furthest left.

Adzes and Axes.

In 1773 Captain Cook found iron already in the hands of the South Sea Islanders. The process, then commencing, of replacing stone, shell, and bone with metal is now completed. For there is not an island, however remote, in Polynesia where non-metallic adzes are any longer used, only the remembrance of them existing in the minds of the oldest natives.

The collection of Ellice adzes and axes falls into two divisions, the ancient, non-metallic and extinct types represented by models, and those now in use in which a metal blade has been adapted to the ancient tool. Stone blades being obviously unattainable, the models of ancient adzes were set with shell ones. In every case the shell was Tridacna, though it is probable that in Funafuti, as elsewhere in the Pacific, other mollusca such as Mitra episcopalis, or Terebra maculata, would sometimes furnish adze-heads.

page 250

The Tridacna shell, particularly the thick part near the hinge, was in former times highly and widely esteemed for this purpose, as is recorded by Keate from the Pelews,* by Finsch from the Carolines, Marshalls, and Gilberts, by Guppy from the Solomons, by Dixon from Malden Island, § by Wilkes from the Paumotus, by Moseley from the Admiralties; and from Nanomea in the Ellice itself Finsch obtained a specimen of a Tridacna axe.

It would hardly have been anticipated that natives, like the Solomon and Pelew Islanders, in the possession of hard volcanic rock would have thus used this material, but Finsch repeatedly remarks that the greater toughness of the shell gives it an advantage over the more brittle stone.**

In the Carolines the same author found the Tridacna blades to assume various shapes, of which he figures a broad deltoid and a narrow chisel form. Some of these attain an immense size, reaching twenty inches in length and ten pounds in weight; such, he says, were common property.

Describing relics of the race who formerly inhabited Malden Island, Mr. W. A. Dixon writes:—"In the grave was a hatchet head with polished edge made from the shell of a tridacna… In many places there were numerous axe heads chipped roughly out of tridacna shells. These are tolerably easily made, the shell being first broken transversely, when a blow on the fractured surface breaks out from the interior of the shell an adze-shaped piece which seems to me to be the pattern on which many of the South Sea stone adzes are formed."‡‡

These tools are thus described by Keate, from the Pelews:—"Their hatchets were not unlike those of the South Sea Islands, the blade part being made of the strongest part of the large Kima Cockle, ground to a sharp edge…. Uncouth as their hatchets might appear to our people, it was a matter of surprise to observe in how little a time the natives were able to fell a tree with them, though not without breaking several." §§

A glance at a stone adze in the exhibition case of a museum might not impress a spectator with a high opinion of its utility

* Keate—An Account of the Pelew Islands, 1788, p. 312.

Finsch—Ann. K. K. Naturhist. Hofmus., viii., 1893, p. 65.

Guppy—The Solomon Islands, 1887, p. 76.

§ Dixon—Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., ix., 1877 (1878) p. 175.

Wilkes—op. cit.

Challenger Reports—Narative, i., pt. ii., 1885, p. 716.

** "In Lepers Island, the stone adzes were called talai maeto, black clam shell, a name now given to iron the native adze was evidently at first of shell, talai, and when stone was used the old name was retained. "Codrington—The Melanesians, 1891, p. 314.

Finsch—op. cit., p. 214, figs. 36-38.

‡‡ Dixon—op. cit.

§§ Keate—op. cit., p. 312.

page 251but on the first occasion on which I saw a stone adze used, my previous ideas on this subject were promptly dissipated. Passing a canoe-builder at work in Kerepunu, British New Guinea, I observed him hewing with a steel tomahawk while beside him lay a rotary stone adze. Being requested to show how the latter was employed, the native obligingly laid aside his European tool and resumed the Papuan one. Three years daily toil in the Queensland bush with an American axe had made me familiar with its use, and it was with the critical eye of a fellow-craftsman that I watched the Papuan axeman. I expected to see him chop with short, light strokes, but with astonishment I saw him plant his feet firmly, swing his adze over his left shoulder at full arm's length, sliding the left hand down the handle in doing so, and then, rising slightly on his toes, bring it down with all the force of every muscle in his arms, back, and legs. After freeing the chip, the adze went up and round and down, and down again, in the most workmanlike style. Under these blows a rain of chips, long, broad chips, sprang from the adze blade over the heads of the bystanders. The aim proved equal to the force, as a strip of timber disappeared inch by inch under well directed even strokes.

The model on which is based fig. 16, has a handle sixteen inches long, the shape of that of the ordinary plane iron adze. A short limb, six inches in length, departs from the handle at an angle of about thirty-five degrees, on the outer distal side of which the adze head is let in. Flat sinnet, interlaced as shown in the figure, binds this on firmly. The head itself is a rough deltoid chip, three inches long, two broad, and half an inch thick, from the valve of Tridacna squamosa, the inner face of the valvebeing applied to the wood, while upon the outer the ridges, furrows, and scales can still be distinguished; a blunt chisel edge is produced by grinding the outer surface. This tool was known in Funafuti as the "toki fasua" (lit. Tridacna Adze).

Fig. 16.

Fig. 16.

Another extinct type, reproduced in models for me by the natives, was the "toki fonu," or Turtle Axe. It is exceptional to find an axe (as opposed to an adze) in Polynesia.* The Tongans could only express an axe to Mariner by circumlocution as, "togi fucca anga gehe—an adze having the blade differently turned with respect to the handle." The range of this type is probably inconsiderable, as other lands

* In Papua the ceremonial tools seem all axes, not adzes. Finsch figures a hoop-iron axe from the Dentrecasteaux;—Ethnol. Atlas, pl, i., fig. 8.

page 252yield superior material inabundance, and it may fairly be assumed to be restricted to the low coral islands of the Central Pacific. Edge-Partington cites* these axes from Nukulailai, Nieue, the Gilberts, and New Caledonia, the last I suspect to be erroneous. They were observed by Whitmee (ante, p. 45) on Vaitupu. The Australian Museum possess a series from Mortlock Island. A group of these turtle axes is published by the former author under the erroneous heading of "Bone War Axes." As a matter of theory these articles seem too light, weak, and clumsy, to serve a warrior; the feel and balance of a real weapon, of however humble an origin, is unmistakable and when gripped by even the hand of an ethnological student can stir a man's blood with magic invitation. As a matter of fact I have Mr. J. O'Brien's assurance that these axes were kitchen utensils, used by the women to split coconuts and chop the soft pandanus boughs. It answers, in fact, to the wooden adze used in Tahiti for splitting breadfruit. Turtle axes from Matty Island differ from other known forms in having the blade pinned instead of lashed to the handle.§

The model represented in fig. 17, has for handle a round, fairly straight stick, sixteen inches long and an inch thick. At the distal end a groove three and a half inches long and a quarter of an inch deep is cut to receive the head. This is a trapezoid piece of turtle (Chelone midas) cara-pace, six and a half inches long and, across the blade, four broad, which is ground on its inner surface to a chisel edge; the proximal end is pierced with two circular holes, through which pass the strands of sinnet that firmly bind the head to the handle.

Fig. 17.

Fig. 17.

The ordinary form of adze, which every man owns and reckons as his most useful possession, is the plane-iron adze, the "toki" of Funafuti, a word which reappears as "togi" in Tonga, and "tosi" in Penrhyn Island, etc. The plane-Fig. 17. iron adze is the direct descendant of the Tridacna adze of ancient days, being used and mounted

* Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pls. xiv., cxxxii.; ii., pl. xciv.

Again (Journ. Anthrop. Inst., xxv.) a turtle-shell axe from Matty Island is described as used in battle. The intrinsic evidence of the description is not convincing, since an edge which would not slice cheese is said to slice flesh. This Matty Island axe seems to me designed for lopping pandanus fruit from the tree. In this paper the race inhabiting Matty Island is not classified. A comparison of the articles described there with those of Funafuti forcibly suggests to me a Polynesian source.

Ellis—Polynesian Researches, i, 1832, p. 177, fig.

§ Edge-Partington—Journ. Anthrop. Inst., xxv., 1896, pl. xxiv., figs. 11, 12.

page 253similarly. This tool plays the part in Polynesia which the toma-hawk takes in Australia; in a native's hand it does duty for half the tools in a carpenter's kit, a keen edge is always kept on the blade, which is used with skill, speed and accuracy. The Funafuti natives when carrying an adze usually prefer rather to hook it over the shoulder than to grasp it in the hand. I observed the same trick in British New Guinea and in the Dentrecasteaux Archipelago. Keate figures a native of the Pelew Islands in this posture,* and Moseley another from the Admiralty Islands,
The original of fig. 18 was a parting gift from my Polynesian friend its owner, whose name is carved upon the handle. In weight it is fourteen ounces, and in length seventeen and a half inches. The handle, the shape of the Arabic numeral 7, is highly polished by hand friction, it differs from that of the Tridacna adze only in the blade being let in for a greater length, but a quarter of the length of the iron projecting beyond the wood. This is an ordinary European plane-iron sunk in a bevel, and is attached by interlaced sinnet as described in the case of the Tridacna axe. From the Admiralty Islands an almost identical specimen was procured by the "Challenger" Expedition.
Fig. 18.

Fig. 18.

The Rotatory Adze is constructed with such mechanical ingenuity that it is difficult to believe it to be an indigenous possession of a people so low in the state of civilisation as the subject of our study.§ From negative evidence I judge that the Rotatory Adze formed no part of the Polynesian heritage, but that its presence in Funafuti is due to that inter-course with the Gilberts which conferred so many benefits upon the southern archipelago.

For a contrivance of so much interest the Rotatory Adze appears to have attracted scanty notice in ethnological literature. The mechanical principle of this tool has in the Pacific developed three expressions.

* Keate—op. cit., plate facing p. 55.

Moseley—Journ. Anthrop. Inst., vi., 1877, pl. xxiii., fig. 2.

Moseley—Challenger Reports—Narrative, i., pt. ii.,1885, p.716, fig. 247.

§ In Java a reversible axe-adze was used, the head being bound on with raw hide, and in Central Africa another reversible axe-adze was employed.

But the following sentence in a description of Hawaiian tools indicates apparently that the Rotatory Adze existed there. "In a form much used for the interior work of a canoe, the stone is so mounted as to turn to one side or the other, thus becoming, as needed, a right or left-hand adze."—Cat. Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum" pt. i., 1892, p. 43.

page 254
(I.)The Western Papuans make a club-shaped adze-handle, through a perforation in the thick end of which is thrust the mounted stone adze-head, the latter rotating as required in the perforation.* The Australian Museum possess a series of this pattern, collected by the Expedition of the Geographical Society of Australasia to the Fly River, and also an instance from Hermit Island to the west of the Admiralty Islands.
(II.)The second type, possessed by the Eastern Papuans, has been described by Finsch, who states that it is called "lachela" on the South Coast of British New Guinea, and "ki," or "kis" in Finschhafen, German New Guinea. Here the stone blade is firmly attached to a wooden cone, the wood and stone together constituting the moveable adze-head, the upper surface of the short limb of the adze-handle is sloped and hollowed to receive the cone of the adze-head, and both cone and limb are embraced in a wide band or sleeve of woven rattan. When it is desired to rotate the blade, the butt of the adze head, which usually projects beyond the adze-handle, is tapped and slides forward, the adze-head is then turned to the required angle and thrust back into the rattan sleeve. Every subsequent blow, by driving the cone along and up the wedge of the short arm of the handle, tends to jamb the adze-head tighter into the rattan sleeve.§
(III)To the third expression, employed by the Micronesians, belongs the Funafuti tool, which invited attention to the foregoing; the only reference to this, known to me in literature, is more than a century old. Keate, writing of the Pelew Islands, remarks that, "they had also another kind of hatchet, which was formed in a manner to move round in a groove, that the edge might act longitudinally, or transversely, by which it would serve as a hatchet, or an adze, as occasion required." He also gives an elaborate engraving of this tool with the legend, "A moveable Hatchet." On comparing Keate's picture and account with Finsch's sketch of a Tridacna adze from Kusaie (Carolines) I am

* This type is figured by Jukes—Voyage of the "Fly," i. 1847, plate facing p. 274; by D'Albertis—New Guinea, ii., 1880, figs. 6 and 11 of plate facing p. 378; by Finsch—Ethnological Atlas, pl. i., fig. 5; and by Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pl. ccxcviii., fig. 1.

Moseley figures and describes—loc. cit., ii., p. 717, fig. 249,—an axe from the Admiralty Islands, of which the blade was "merely jammed in a slot cut in a club-like billet of hard wood near its end." Other relations between the Fly River and Northern Papuans are referred to by Haddon—Cunningham Memoirs, x., 1894, p. 84.

Finsch—op. cit., iii., 1888, p. 328, fig. 36; vi., 1891, p. 71; also Ethnol. Atlas, pl. i., figs. 4, 7.

§ In an unfigured and undescribed type from New Britain, the shorter limb of the adze-handle tapers to a point and is received by a socket of wood and cane attached to the blade.

Keate—An Account of the Pelew Islands, 1788, p. 312, pl. ii., fig. 3.

Finsch—op. cit., viii., 1893, p. 215, fig. 39.

page 255tempted to believe that the German traveller had before him a Rotatory Adze, though the distinguishing feature of it escaped his observation. My reasons for this opinion are that the shell blade is shown not directly connected with the handle, but in-serted into a separate holder which is in turn fastened to the handle; and further that in the immovable adzes the method, which I have already described, of lashing the blade to the handle, is quite different, whereas the mode and lashing of the Caroline adze is exactly that of the Pelew Rotatory Adze, namely one series of backwardly and another of forwardly directed cords, arising from opposite sides of the handle and meeting above. This arrangement is seen again in an axe-adze Finsch figures from Guap, near D'Urville Island, German New Guinea.* The drawings of Edge-Partington are not sufficiently elaborated to permit much appeal to detail, but the points just discussed suggest to me that an adze, figured as from Pitcairn Island, is probably a Rotatory Adze. Recollecting that the "Bounty" mutineers found Pitcairn uninhabited, I regard this locality with suspicion. Others figured as from the Carolines, Santa Cruz, New Guinea and New Zealand (!) may perhaps belong to the group under consideration, as may that shown on p. 313 of Codrington's Melanesians.
If it be accepted, as it generally is, that the Plane-iron Adze is the direct descendant of the Stone or Shell Adze, then it cannot be denied that the Rotatory Adze I here figure is derived by parallel descent from an adze like that figured by Keate. Various aspects of a specimen of the Rotatory Adze now in common use in Funafuti, where it is called "atupa," are shown by fig. 19. The handle of the atupa differs from that of the toki, in that the short arm is produced so as to transform the 7 into an oblique and unsymmetrical T. The example selected for illustration weighs one pound, six ounces; the handle is two feet long and the head half as much. In this particular instance the cutting edge is a European hoe-blade; in another, part of an iron door-hinge has served, and probably scrap-iron in almost any form
Fig. 19.

Fig. 19.

* Finsch—Ethnol. Atlas, pl. 1, fig. 7.

Edge-Partington—loc. cit., ii., pl. xv., fig. 5.

Loc. cit., ii., pl. xciii., fig. 3;i., pl. ccc, fig. 3; pl. ccclxxx., fig. 3; pl. clxii. fig. 4.

page 256would be utilised. The iron is let into and lashed to a spade-shaped holder in precisely the fashion in which the plane-iron edge is fastened to its adze-handle. This wooden holder is about ten inches long, consisting of a round rotating shaft about six inches long and a wedge-head, the latter being four inches long, two broad, and at the thick end an inch and a quarter deep. The base of the wedge grinds against the truncated arm of the handle which receives the shock of the blow, while the shaft is nearly buried in a deep groove along the T head of the handle. Both. handle and holder are cross-furrowed by two deeply incised ring-grooves, one before and one behind, while vestiges of a third are apparent. Stout sinnet bindings occupy these grooves and keep the holder in its position in the groove of the handle.
Another, and as Keate's figure suggests, probably archaic, method of lashing the holder to the handle is shown (fig. 20) by a specimen I sketched, but could not obtain, on Funafuti.
Fig. 20.

Fig. 20.

Pump Drill.*

Perhaps the only existing people who do not practise perforation by drilling are the Australian Aborigines, who however incidentally drilled holes in the process of making fire. The Polynesians are much more advanced.

The Pump Drill of the West Pacific never fails to elicit expressions of surprise and admiration from those who first see it used by the natives. So attractive a subject has naturally received due attention from travellers, and as several good figures of it have already appeared, I need not here burden literature with more.

The pump drill seems to have been an evolution from the simple shaft drill, from which it arose by easy and natural improvements. The simple shaft drill, as the older and simpler form, was wider spread in space consequent on its superior antiquity allowing it the greater chance of passing from people to people to remoter limits. When European civilisation invaded the Pacific and commenced to deaden the progress of native manners and customs, the pump drill was probably overtaking and replacing the simple shaft drill on the periphery of an out-rippling circle.

To trace the path of either form would be to unravel the vexed question of the origin of the Pacific races. "The rotatory drill," says Brigham, "and the kupaaikee adze are both Papuan

* For an account of the pump drill beyond the geographical limits of the present article, see J. D. McGuire—A Study of the primitive methods of Drilling—Report of the U.S. National Museum, 1894, (1896) p. 733.

page 257inventions now spread through the Pacific."* If so they must have been transmitted to Hawaii by the Micronesians. A possible source of the ancient, simple, shaft drill of the Pacific, is Japan, where Morse thus describes its use:—"For drilling holes, a very long-handled awl is used. The carpenter, seizing the handle at the end, between the palms of his hands, and moving his hands rapidly back and forth, pushing down at the same time, the awl is made rapidly to rotate back and forth; as his hands gradually slip down on the handle, he quickly seizes it at the upper end again, continuing the motion as before." Such a drill is introduced into a scene in the island of Rawak, Dutch New Guinea, Cook noticed this simpler form of drill from Tahiti, and he observed awls armed with sharks' teeth used by the Tongans and the Maories.§ The Maori greenstone meris are said to have been drilled with a weighted strap drill. "To drill the hole for the thong in the handle … pieces of sharp flint are set in the end of a split stick, being lashed in very neatly. The stick is about fifteen or eighteen inches long, and is to become the spindle of a large teetotum drill. For the circular plate of this instrument the hardened intervertebral cartilage of a whale is taken. A hole is made through, and the stick firmly and accurately fixed in it. Two strings are then attached to the upper end of the stick, and by pulling them a rapid rotatory motion is given to the drill. When an indentation is once made in the pounamu the work is easy. As each flint becomes blunted it is replaced by another." From New Caledonia I have had a description of a stick drill on a large scale, used for making the nephrite ceremonial axes; to this a stone is slung, performing when set spinning, the office of a fly-wheel. The shaft drill survived till lately on Erromanga, New Hebrides, whence the Rev. H. A. Robertson procured models, now in the Australian Museum. Fire-sticks and the long spines of Echini supplied the Fijian's boring apparatus.
The structure and use of the pump drill is thus described by Dr. Turner:—"Take a piece of wood, eighteen inches long, twice the thickness of a cedar pencil. Fasten with a strong thread a fine pointed nail, or a sail needle, to the end of this sort of spindle. Get a thick piece of wood, about the size of what is called in England a 'hot cross bun,' and in Scotland a 'cookie,' bore a hole in the centre of it, run the spindle through it, and wedge it fast about the middle of the spindle. At the top of the spindle fasten

* Brigham—loc. tit., pt iii., p. 31.

Morse—Japanese Homes, 1888, p. 40.

Voy. Uranie et Physicienne, 1829, pl. 46.

§ Cook—First Voyage, ii., 1773, p. 219; Last Voyage, i., 1785, pp. 160 and 395.

Chapman—Trans. N. Z. Inst., xxiv., 1891 (1892) p. 499. Another type is figured, loc. cit., pl. xxviii.

page 258two strings, each nine inches long, to the end of these strings attach the ends of a common cedar pencil, forming a triangle with a wooden base and side strings. Stand up the machine with your left hand, place the iron point where you wish to bore a hole, and steady the spindle with your left hand. Take hold of the pencil handle of the upper triangle, twirl round the spindle with your left hand, which will coil on the strings at the top to the spindle, pull down the pencil handle quickly, and then the machine will spin round. Work the handle in this way up and down, like a pump, the cord will alternately run off and on to the spindle, and the machine will continue to whirl round, first one way and then the other, until the pearl shell or whatever it may be, is perforated."*

Perhaps the earliest account we have of the pump drill of the Pacific is the excellent engraving and description of one procured from Fakaafu by the American Expedition on the occasion of their discovery of that island, Turner fully describes this drill and its use in Samoa, and a Samoan example is figured by Edge-Partington. § At Treasury Island, Solomons, Dr. Guppy saw Mule, the chief, using a pump drill for "piercing the holes for the rattan-like thongs in the planks of his canoe." Edge-Partington supplies an illustration of a pump drill with a stone point and a turtle fly-wheel from Malayta, Solomons; and Codrington describes certain disks as "drilled with a pump drill, in Florida 'puputa,'in San Christoval 'nono."'** Its existence in British New Guinea is attested by D'Albertis, who figures one from Naiabui; by Stone, who figures and describes another from Port Moresby; and by Edge-Partington, who figures a third from Kerepunu;§§ the two latter are peculiar in the substitution of a bar for a fly-wheel. In 1890, I observed a native in the village of Toulon Island engaged in making beads from Strombus shells with the aid of a pump drill. "The rotatory drill was known to the Hawaiians; before the advent of iron the point of a Terebra shell served for borer, but in modern times a triangular file was generally used.ǁ

* Turner—-Samoa, 1884, p. 169.

Wilkes—loc. cit., v., p. 18, fig.

Turner—loc. cit., p. 169.

§ Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pl. lxxvii., fig. 1.

Guppy—loc. cit., p. 76.

Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pl. cei., fig. 3.

** Codrington—The Melanesians, 1891, p. 325,

D'Albertis—loc. cit., pl. facing p. 378, fig. 19.

Stone—A Few Months in New Guinea, 1883, p. 72, fig.

§§ Edge-Partington—loc. cit., ii,, pl. 174, fig. 4.

page 259

No drills, I believe, existed on Funafuti at the date of our arrival. The natives were, however, well acquainted with the tool and described them to me as formerly in use pointed with Terebra maculata and Mitra episcopalis; a clumsy model of one, pointed with a fragment of Pteroceras, was made on the island for one of our party. On Fakaafu, Lister saw a drill pointed with a sea urchin's tooth. On the neighbouring atoll of Nukulailai I was able to secure a specimen in actual use. Here it was called "milli," and was chiefly employed in making pearl-shell fish-hooks. This specimen weighs six and a half ounces, measures twenty-one inches in total length, is fitted half-way with a fly-wheel four and a half inches in diameter and three-quarters of an inch thick of European or American deal, from one end a rod a foot long is swung from nine inch long sinnet cords, and to the other end is lashed a pointed, steel, triangular, saw-file.*

* Since the preceding pages were printed off, a figure and description (Journ. Anthrop. Inst., xxvi., 1897, p. 433) of the New Caledonian drill, therein mentioned, have reached me, † Wilkes—loc. cit., v., p. 17.


Woodwork, trimmed into shape by the adze, received a finish from the rasp, "jiri," made of the rough skin of the Ray. An unmounted fragment, such as a piece of the tail, sometimes served, but more usually the skin was neatly mounted on a wooden handle.

The natives of Fakaafu, "had saws and files, formed of shark's skin stretched on sticks, which in their hands were quite effective in wearing away the soft wood.† From Santa Cruz and Banks Island, New Hebrides, Edge-Partington shows similar mounted rasps. Lamont relates that at Penrhyn Island:—"The spears are finally polished with the 'poerare,' a kind of rasp, of fish-skin, fastened on a stick.§"Captain Cook saw on Tonga" rasps, of a rough skin of a fish, fastened on flat pieces of wood, thinner on one side, which also have handles."
Fig. 21.

Fig. 21.

Ling Roth figures a "file made of fish-skin gummed on to wood, from S.E. Borneo."
Fig. 22.

Fig. 22.

The Funafuti specimen of which figs. 21 and 22 give back and front views, weighs three and a page 260half ounces, and is eleven inches long by two and three-quarters wide. The sheet of ray skin is six inches by four, and is sewn together at the back with fine sinnet. The bleached condition of the wooden handle shows it to be drift wood, and the weight and grain agrees with that of red cedar (Cedrela toona).

Rasps were also improvised out of a rough piece of coral.

Edge Partington—loc. cit., i, pl. clxiii., fig. 9; ii., pl. lxxxvi., fig. 3.

§ Lamont—op. cit., p. 155.

Cook—A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, i, 1784, p. 395.

Ling Roth—Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo, ii., 1896, p. Pig. 22.


The literary history of the spade in the Pacific is both brief and obscure.*

An article is represented in the Ethnographical Album, which Dr. Gill describes as "the ancient spade of the Mangaiians, always used in a squatting posture, also used (and intended to be used) as a club "; Edge-Partington further figures a series described in the margin as "steering paddles,"§ but which are indexed as "spades"; from Fiji a spade-blade of tortoiseshell, bored for lash-ing to a handle, is represented; from Samoa is shown an instrument referred to as a "spade (?) of Pinna shell"; and from Tonga a Meleagrina margaritifera valve, bored and similarly mounted on a pole, is classified as a "spade(?)"*

On Fakarava, Paumotu Group, Stolpe obtained a "model of spade wherewith aforetime they buried their dead. The model, which is of the actual size, consists of a staff, with a great pearl mussel shell fast bound to either end by coconut plaiting. The entire implement is 146 cm. long."

Of the Tongans, Captain Cook wrote:—"The instruments they use for this purpose [digging], which they call hoo, are nothing-more than pickets or stakes of different lengths, according to the depth they have to dig. These are flattened and sharpened to an edge at one end; and the largest have a short piece fixed trans-versely, for pressing it into the ground with the foot. With these,

* For remarks on the use of agricultural implements in New Zealand, see Polack—Manners and Customs of the New Zealanders, ii., 1840, p. 194; and in Australia, R. Etheridge, Juur.—Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., ix., (2), 1894 (1895), pp. 109-112.

Edge-Partington—op. cit. i., pl. v., fig. 6.

Id., loc. cit., pl. xxxvi., figs. 1-3.

§ All the steering paddles that I have seen were carved solid in one piece, and the frailty of the specimens drawn suggests to me that he-who ticketed these articles "steering paddles" had not acquired his lore in the salt air and sunshine of the Southern Seas. For he had surely never seen a steering paddle jammed hard down with all the force of the brown steersman's arm and watched the surging water straining it as the tall and tasselled prow swung slowly up to windward.

Edge-Partington—op. cit., pl. cxix., fig. 12.

Id., loc. cit., ii., pl. xliv., fig. 3.

* Id., loc. cit., ii., pl. 1., fig. 9.

Trans. Rochdale Lit. and Scientific Soc, iii., 1893, p. 112.

page 261though they are not more than from two to four inches broad, they dig and plant ground of many acres in extent."*

Though the peculiar method of mounting the blade by boring and lashing to the pole, may be useful as a clue in distinguishing the Pacific spade, it cannot be regarded as a feature separating it from other implemeats. A type of New Caledonian axe shares this character, and in the Gilbert Group the paddles are made in this way, as Wilkes has shown and Finsch confirmed.§ With the Gilbert paddle agrees another figured from the Admiralty Islands by Moseley, and a specimen from Anchorite Island in the Australian Museum. Indeed the Pacific spade suggests for itself a polyphyletic origin from the paddle of the Gilbert Islander, the club of the Mangaiian, or the axe of the New Caledonian.

Fig. 23.

Fig. 23.

In the Ellice, two agricultural implements existed. A species of mattock, resembling an adze of which the minor limb was lengthened and armed with turtle carapace, was obtained by one of the officers of H.M.S. "Penguin," on Funafuti. A cognate tool is mentioned by Pinschfrom Mortlock Island. Another of our party Fig. 23. also procured some indifferent models of a spade, or long-handled shovel, on Funafuti, where their use had been long abandoned and their place taken by metal bladed substitutes.

On Nukulailai, however, I found this type surviving and in daily use. A specimen I there procured is shown by figs. 23 and 24. This spade is in two parts, a handle and a blade; the former is a pole, perhaps of Ochrosia wood, five feet long and an inch and a quarter in diameter, and the latter an oval, spoon-shaped board of perhaps Calophyllum wood, sixteen inches long, nine wide, and half-an-inch thick, proximally it narrows to a shaft four inches long and one and a half wide, which is bound to the pole, additional strength being given by lashings which pass round the pole through two pairs of perforations in the
Fig. 24

Fig. 24

* Cook—A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean,, i., 1785, p. 392. A Maori spade and hoe are figured by Taylor—New Zealand and its inhabitants, 1870, pp. 360, 423; and the Hawaiian by Ellis—loc. cit., iv., p. 195.

Edge-Partington—op. cit., i., pl. cxxviii., fig. 3.

Wilkes—loc. cit., v., p. 52, fig.

§ Finsch—loc. cit., viii., 1893, p.70, fig.12.

Moseley—Journ Anthrop. Inst., vi., 1877, pl. xxii.


page 262blade, bored respectively at five and seven inches from the stem. The blade is straight longitudinally, but transversely the curving sides rise an inch and a half above the centre. Such are frequently constructed of broken or disused wooden basins.


The method of climbing palms in Funafuti has been described on p. 26. The "kouteki" used in that operation is illustrated by fig. 25; the side shaded in my drawing being the face applied to the palm trunk. This article is carved from a hard dark wood, perhaps Calophyllum, weighs four and a half ounces, is twenty-one inches long, two broad, and one thick.
Fig. 25

Fig. 25

Coconut Scrapers.

An ordinary kitchen utensil is the "twaikarea," or mounted scraper. Of this the old form has entirely passed out of use, having been replaced by an iron instrument. I was, however, by the courtesy of the late king's daughter, so fortunate as to receive from her as a return gift for a bottle of European scent, the specimen shown by fig. 26, which was, I was assured, the last survival in the atoll, if not in the archipelago, of the ancient pattern, where its place is taken by a metal substitute. In use the twaikarea is laid upon the ground and the blade is thrust through one of the loose coco-leaf mats; sitting down,.the operator rests the thigh on the straight shaft of the utensil to keep it firm, and grasping a split coconut rocks it over the blade till the kernel is shredded away. The shreds are then gathered from the mat for cooking or making oil.
Fig. 26

Fig. 26

The method of using this instrument on Funafuti is shown in the accompanying sketch(Plate xiv.), for which I am indebted to my friend Mr. Norman Hardy. In Matty Island it appears that the operator does not sit, but stands on the instrument and stoops to his work.

The wooden holder whose worn and discolored appearance indicates a respectable antiquity, consists of a cone departing at page 263half a right angle from a straight board, all being in one piece of a kind of hard, white wood unknown to me. The board or seat is eighteen inches long, an inch thick, three inches wide at the end, and four at the elbow. The cone is six inches long, and tapers from two and a half inches at the base to an inch at the summit. On the upper side it is excavated to receive the blade. A spoon-shaped fragment, four inches long and two wide, from the columella of the "karea" shell (Pterocera lambis), ground to a chisel edge on the outer side, constitutes the blade, which is retained in position by interlaced lashing of sinnet, like that of the adze. The weight of this implement is one pound eight ounces. Upon an emergency a twaikarea might be used, I was informed, as a substitute for the toki fasua.

Somewhat different are the coconut scrapers figured and described from Matty Island, in German New Guinea.*

An homologous utensil, "kamdjoo," consisting of an armed stick sloping in a fork stuck in the ground, is recorded from the Ladrones.

Of this latter type a specimen from the Marshall Islands, set with a blade of hard coconut shell, is contained in the Australian Museum. This form was probably steadied by the knee when in use. The localities suggest that it will prove a characteristic of Micronesia.

The article just described is intended only for scraping the kernel of the coconut shell which has become firm and thick with age. Another kind of scraper is used to prepare pap for infants' food from the soft kernel of the half-grown nut. The latter kind seems to be in common use over a wide area and usually takes the shape of a slip of pearl shell an inch or two inches broad and twice as long, having the broader end finely serrated. Some I collected at Mita, Milne Bay, British New Guinea, were called there "kahi." From the Solomons, Edge-Partington figures two examples, the former from New Georgia being etched pictorially on the concave face. Finsch illustrates another from Finsch-haven, German New Guinea.§ On Penrhyn Island:—" With a piece of mother-of-pearl, called a 'tuè' some six inches long, and tapering to a point, and about two broad at the base, where it is nicked like a saw, they scrape the meat very fine. This they do by placing a half nut between their legs, pressing the edge down with the left thumb, holding the è like a pen, in the right hand, page 264and scraping from the edge downwards, the left forefinger pressing on and assisting the others in the operation."**

On Nukulailai I procured a specimen, called "twai," cut from Meleagrina, one ounce in weight, three and three-quarter inches long, and tapering in width from an inch to an inch and a half. On Funafuti pearl shell was a material too precious for this use, and hard coconut shell was employed in the specimen drawn in fig. 27, which is three-quarters of an ounce in weight, four inches in length, and tapers from a broken point to an edge an inch and three-quarters broad, denticulated by thirty small teeth.
Fig. 27

Fig. 27

The ribs and carapace of Chelone midas are formed into scoops "sesefonu," for paring the kernel of coconuts. No two of the series collected at Funafuti are quite alike. Variations selected for illustration show—the former, (fig. 28) a double-ended scoop, an ounce and a half in weight, an inch broad, and seven and a half long; the latter, (fig. 29) two and a half ounces in weight, eleven inches in length, and one and a half in width, at one end it tapers to a point and at the other is bevelled three inches on the concave surface to the blade.
Fig. 28.

Fig. 28.

Fig. 29.

Fig. 29.

To this category probably belongs a Fijian article sketched by Edge-Parting-ton described in the margin as a "taro spade of bone," but corrected by Sir Arthur Gordon in "Additional Notes "to" implement of turtle bone used for preparing puddings."

A scoop was occasionally improvised from a valve of the common Asaphis deflorata.

* Edge-Partington—Journ. Anthrop. Inst., xxv., 1896., p. 294, pl. xxiv., figs. 7, 8.

Freyeinet—Voyage Uranie et Physicienne, ii., 1829., pp. 313 and 447, pl. lxxix., fig. 2.

Edge-Partington—loc. cit., ii., pl. ci., fig. 12; pl. cxii., fig. 8.

§ Ethnological Atlas, 1880, p. 26, pl. v., fig. 8.

** Lamont-—loc. cit., p. 117.

Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pl, cxix., fig. 16; see also ii.j pl. lix., fig. 7.