Dr. Justin W. Leonard collected these barbed spears in the southern Solomon Islands in the mid-1940s. Leonard, an entomologist and ecologist, earned his PhD at the University of Michigan in 1937. During World War II he served in the military as a medical entomologist, researching malaria. It was during this service that he toured the southern Solomon Islands and made a small, well-documented collection of material culture. The short length of the spears shown here suggest they were fore-shafts and would have been attached to a longer wooden shaft for use in hunting. A woven palm leaf tube is found on the midsection of each spear shaft, and two rows of wooden barbs are attached below the sharpened wooden point.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.