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Pitt Rivers Museum and Oxford University Museum of Natural History

22 December 2012

The plan for the day is to spend some time at the Pitt Rivers Museum and University Museum of Natural History in Oxford before taking the car to explore the eastern part of the Cotswold and ending the day at Stratford Upon Avon.

If you want to see exotic and amazing stuff like shrunken human heads from Amazon or dried fish skins used as body armour, then Pitt Rivers Museum would be the place to visit.

The two museums are free of charge to visit and are practically linked. We entered via the University of Natural History. There were stuffed animals and fossils of dinosaurs. This museum is smaller than the Natural History Museum in London but Interesting nevertheless.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History  Dodo bird – hunted to extinction because it cannot fly and is practically defenceless.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Oxford University Museum of Natural History  T-rex skull and head.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History  Exhibit in the geology section – meteorites.

We entered the Pitt Rivers Museum from the Natural History Museum. This museum which focused on anthropology and world archaeology is unlike any museum I have been before. The items on displayed came from all over the world and is a massive collection displayed on showcases on 3 levels.

Overview of Pitt River museum. Giant totem pole at the back.

The objects displayed are grouped accordingly to how they were made or used. We just combed through the rows and rows of shelves to view the items on display.

Some of the more fascinating objects displayed on the ground floor were the shrunken heads under the “Treatment of the Dead” display.

Pitt Rivers Museum OxfordSkulls or heads kept as war trophies – reminded me of the movie Predators where the alien kept human skulls as trophies.

Pitt Rivers Museum OxfordReal shrunken heads or Tsantsas from the Amazon region.

Pitt Rivers Museum OxfordThis ivory ball(s) looks like one I saw at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Each ball is a detached layer carved within another. Extreme and amazing craftsmanship.

The upper gallery has an interesting collection of shields, armour, spears, swords and also firearms. Some exhibits were simply amazing and have to be seen to be believed.

Pitt Rivers Museum OxfordSpiky war helmet made from a spiny fish. Dried dish skin used as armour.

We spent about 1 hour and a half at the two museums before leaving Oxford to explore the Cotswold. Overall, I enjoyed my visit to the Pitts River Museum, a place not to be missed while visiting Oxford.

Our next stop would be Bourton-on-the-Water.

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