A century of collecting: colonial collectors in southwest New Britain. In A Pacific Odyssey: Archaeology and Anthropology in the Western Pacific. Papers in Honour of Jim Specht
The study of material culture has waxed and waned in importance in anthropology, unlike archaeology where it has always been central. However, much of the anthropology carried out on the south coast of New Britain has concerned the collection of material culture. We survey a century of collecting on the coast ranging from the large, well-organized expeditions of the German period, through a number of individual collectors both amateur and professional from the German period to the Second World War, and we finish with the more minor forms of collecting taking place in the quite different political climate after the War. We show that the study of past collections can throw light on a number of histories: the biographies of individuals, both local and colonial, the histories of institutions and disciplines, and the history of change along the south coast of New Britain itself.