‘There’s a hole in my shield …’ : A textual footnote
23rd January 2014
J. Vincent S. Megaw
It is unfortunately a truism that by and large archaeologists make very poor use of available historical sources – unless, that is, they are historians by training. The purpose of this brief note is to draw attention to an overlooked reference in Joseph Banks’ Endeavour journal which seems to lend further authenticity to the identification of a bark shield now in the Museum of Mankind (British Museum). The possible significance of the shield was first noted by Isabel McBryde (1970) and further commented on in Megaw (1972); most recently it has been discussed by the present writer in an essay on surviving pre- ca 1820 Aboriginal material from the Botany Bay-Port Jackson area published in the McCarthy commemorative papers (Megaw 1993, esp. cat. no. 6). The shield, recorded simply in the Museum’s register as ‘Captain Cook Acc.’, can be compared closely with the drawing executed in 1771 for Banks by John Frederick Miller, particularly due to a hole in the shield located close to its carrying handle (Figs 1a and 1b).
*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.Megaw, J.V.S.
'There's a hole in my shield ...' : A textual footnote
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