Kuba textile

Woven textile, Shoowa, early 20th century. Photo by Hillel Burger. PM 17-41-50/B2047.

Archaeological holdings from Africa consist primarily of Egyptian and Nubian artifacts excavated by George Reisner and excavations at related sites in Libya and Sudan. Early nineteenth-century items came into the museum from the Boston Museum collection and early Boston seafarers.

Major collections were created for the museum in the twentieth century in Liberia, southern Cameroon, and Uganda. Among these are masks, ceramics, textiles, baskets, and ritual objects. Important hominin cast collections were made in the twentieth century.

Collection Highlights

  • Beadwork from southern Africa
  • Benin plaques, bronze head, and ivory statuette
  • Early nineteenth-century objects from the Boston Museum Collection
  • Egyptian and Nubian collections excavated by George Reisner
  • Embroidered Kuba cloth
  • Fossil cast collections from the Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene
  • Harley Liberian mask collection
  • Homo heidelbergensis from Morocco
  • !Kung (Kalahari peoples) collections
  • Musical instruments
  • Objects from Liberia, southern Cameroon, and Uganda: baskets, hats, stools, vessels, combs, ornaments, divination implements, and tools
  • Osteological collections from Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and the Canary Islands.
  • Other extant primates including apes, monkeys, and prosimians
  • Pan troglodytes verus crania from Liberia collected by George Harley
  • The Marshall Family Expeditions to the Kalahari, 1950-1961
  • Tuareg jewelry, swords, and leatherwork
  • Watercolors of South African rock art


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