When you enter the Pitt Rivers Museum, your first sight is of the biggest item in the Collection; the totem pole on the far wall.
While we normally associate totem poles with the Native Americans of the American Plains, they were used further afield; possibly even world-wide. This one came from the Haida people, of the Queen Charlotte Islands in western Canada, from whom it was purchased for $36, and shipped to England in 1901. Since we’ll be passing by the Queen Charlotte Islands (but not calling there) on our cruise in a couple of months, I took a particular interest.
We’ll probably see totem poles anyway, for they were prolific in this part of the world, too. There are some in Stanley Park, Vancouver and we’ll probably see more at other places on the trip.
Closer to hand is the one outside the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Middlesbrough.
I’ve also got some pictures of similar objects probably used by Australian Aborigines. I’m not sure about this one; it’s an interpretation by a modern artist, and I’m not sure how authentic it is.
They even found evidence there may have been one near Stonehenge; they found traces of the post hole where it may have stood back in the 60s. But, they dealt with it in just the way they dealt with the last resting place of Richard III in Leicester.
They built a car park over it!