Augustus Pitt Rivers
Augustus Henry Lane Fox
14 April 1827
|Died||4 May 1900 73) (aged|
|Years of service||1845–1882|
Lieutenant General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers –4 May 1900) was an English officer in the British Army, ethnologist, and archaeologist. He was noted for innovations in archaeological methodology, and in the museum display of archaeological and ethnological collections. His international collection of about 22,000 objects was the founding collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford while his collection of English archaeology from the area around Stonehenge forms the basis of the collection at The Salisbury Museum in Wiltshire.(14 April 1827
Throughout most of his life he used the surname Lane Fox, under which his early archaeological reports are published. In 1880 he adopted the Pitt Rivers name on inheriting from Lord Rivers (a cousin) an estate of more than 32,000 acres in Cranborne Chase.
His family name is often spelled as "Pitt-Rivers".His middle name is sometimes spelled as "Lane-Fox".
Born Augustus Henry Lane-Fox at Bramham cum Oglethorpe near Wetherby in Yorkshire,he was the son of William Lane-Fox and Lady Caroline Douglas, sister of George Douglas, 17th Earl of Morton. The politicians George Lane-Fox and Sackville Lane-Fox were his uncles.
In 1880, Lane Fox inherited the estates of his cousin, Horace Pitt-Rivers, 6th Baron Rivers and with it the remainder of the Richard Rigby fortune. It was "an event that transformed his life."He was required to adopt the surname Pitt-Rivers as part of the bequest 'either alone or in addition to his or their surname'. On 3 February 1853, Pitt-Rivers (still under the surname Fox) married The Honourable Alice Margaret Stanley (1828–1910), daughter of the politician Edward Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley and of the women's education campaigner Henrietta Stanley, Baroness Stanley of Alderley. Alice had a slew of siblings active in the public issues of the day, several of whom married into prominent families. The Pitt Rivers Museum suggests that some of the founding collection, particularly some Indian items, may have come from John Constantine Stanley (1837-1878), younger brother of Alice.
Augustus and Alice had nine children who reached adulthood; they were born between 1855 and 1866.As they were all born before Augustus took the new surname in 1880, their births are registered under the name of Fox (or Lane-Fox).
Augustus had several notable descendants. One grandson was the anthropologist, eugenicist, and anti-Semite George Pitt-Rivers, who was interned in 1940 under Defence Regulation 18B.George's children included Michael Pitt-Rivers, and his brother, the anthropologist and ethnographer, Julian A. Pitt-Rivers. A further generation includes Augustus's great-great-grandson, William Fox-Pitt, the equestrian.
|Lane–Fox–Pitt–Rivers family tree|
Lane Fox had a long and successful military career as a staff officer. He was educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, for six months at the age of fourteen and was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards on 16 May 1845 as an ensign.In the course of a thirty-two-year military career, albeit much interrupted by leave, he only once saw major front line action, at the Battle of Alma in 1854. Soon after the battle, he was found unfit for active service and returned to England. In 1851 he became a member of the committee to experiment and report on the respective merits of the army's smoothbore muskets. He was appointed to Woolwich to instruct in the use of the new Minié rifle in 1852. Subsequently, he was largely responsible for founding the Hythe school of Musketry in Kent and became its principal instructor, revising its Instruction of Musketry manual. The remainder of his service career revolved around musketry instruction and in 1858 he published a paper On the improvement of the rifle as a weapon for general use. He bought a promotion to Captain on 2 August 1850. He was promoted to the brevet rank of lieutenant-colonel of the army "for distinguished Service in the Field" during the Crimean War. On 15 May 1857, he bought the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Grenadier Guards. The then Brevet-Major Lane Fox, was appointed a member of the Fifth Class of the Order of the Medjidie in 1858 for "distinguished services before the enemy during the [Crimean War]". He was promoted to colonel on 22 January 1867 and major general in 1877. Pitt Rivers retired in 1882 and was accorded the honorary rank of Lt General.
Pitt Rivers' interests in archaeology and ethnology began in the 1850s, during postings overseas, and he became a noted scientist while he was a serving military officer. His interest began with the evolution of the rifle, which extended to other weapons and tools, and he became a collector of artifacts illustrating the development of human invention. His collection became famous, and, after being exhibited in 1874–1875 at the Bethnal Green Museum, was presented in 1885 to the University of Oxford.He was elected, in the space of five years, to the Ethnological Society of London (1861), the Society of Antiquaries of London (1864) and the Anthropological Society of London (1865).
Pitt Rivers received his first instruction in archaeological excavation from Canon William Greenwell, librarian of Durham Cathedral, during an 1867 excavation in the Yorkshire Wolds, and returned to carry out further Yorkshire excavations in 1879.Biographer Mark Bowden suggests that Pitt Rivers remained in contact with Greenwell until his own death in 1900.
By the time he retired he had amassed ethnographic collections numbering tens of thousands of items from all over the world. Influenced by the evolutionary writings of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, he arranged them typologically and (within types) chronologically. He viewed archaeology as an extension of anthropology and, as consequence, built up matching collections of archaeological and ethnographic objects to show longer developmental sequences to support his views on cultural evolution.This style of arrangement, designed to highlight evolutionary trends in human artefacts, was a revolutionary innovation in museum design.
Pitt Rivers' ethnological collections form the basis of the Pitt Rivers Museum which is still one of Oxford's attractions. His researches and collections cover periods from the Lower Paleolithic to Roman and medieval times, and extend all over the world.The Pitt Rivers Museum curates more than half a million ethnographic and archaeological artifacts, photographic and manuscript collections from all parts of the world. The museum was founded in 1884 when the university accepted the gift of more than 20,000 artifacts from Pitt Rivers, and awarded him the Doctorate of Civil Law in 1886. He was later named a Fellow of the Royal Society. The collections continue to grow, and the museum has been described as one of the "six great ethnological museums of the world".
Pitt Rivers' Wessex Collection is housed in The Salisbury Museum, not far from Stonehenge. The Wessex Gallery of archaeology opened in 2014, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and other sources. Pitt Rivers and other early archaeologists such as William Stukeley who first investigated the prehistory of Wiltshire, Cranborne Chase, Avebury and Stonehenge, are celebrated in the gallery.
The estates Pitt Rivers inherited in 1880 contained a wealth of archaeological material from the Roman and Saxon periods. He excavated these over seventeen seasons, from the mid-1880s until his death. His approach was highly methodical by the standards of the time, and he is widely regarded as the first scientific archaeologist to work in Britain. His most important methodological innovation was his insistence that all artefacts, not just beautiful or unique ones, be collected and catalogued. This focus on everyday objects as the key to understanding the past broke decisively with past archaeological practice, which verged on treasure hunting. It is Pitt Rivers' most important, and most lasting, scientific legacy. His work inspired Mortimer Wheeler, among others, to add to the scientific approach of archaeological excavation techniques.
Pitt Rivers created the Larmer Tree Gardens, a public pleasure garden, on the Rushmore estate near Tollard Royal in Wiltshire.
Following the passage of the Ancient Monuments Protection Act 1882, Pitt Rivers became the first Inspector of Ancient Monuments: a post created by anthropologist and parliamentarian John Lubbock who married Pitt Rivers' daughter, Alice. Charged with cataloguing archaeological sites and protecting them from destruction, he worked with his customary methodical zeal but was hampered by the limitations of the law, which gave him little real power over the landowners on whose property the sites stood.
On the advice of Pitt-Rivers, Kit's Coty House and Little Kit's Coty House, Kent, were among the first ancient British remains to be protected by the state. Railings were erected around the stones there to prevent vandalism.
In 1884 he served as High Sheriff of Dorset.
Pitt Rivers was an advocate for cremation. Even though many people believed that it was immoral to destroy a corpse, the cremation movement favored a practical way to dispose of bodies. Pitt Rivers was cremated after his death in 1900.
Among the publications of August Pitt Rivers are:
It was founded in 1884 with a donation of a collection of c.22,092 archaeological and ethnological objects, which had been assembled between c.1851 and the early 1880s by General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers (1827–1900) – who was known until 1880 simply as Augustus Henry Lane Fox....The PRM founding collection was donated to the University four years after Pitt-Rivers had inherited a large estate (and his new surname): an event that transformed his life.
The Ethnological Society of London (ESL) was a learned society founded in 1843 as an offshoot of the Aborigines' Protection Society (APS). The meaning of ethnology as a discipline was not then fixed: approaches and attitudes to it changed over its lifetime, with the rise of a more scientific approach to human diversity. Over three decades the ESL had a chequered existence, with periods of low activity and a major schism contributing to a patchy continuity of its meetings and publications. It provided a forum for discussion of what would now be classed as pioneering scientific anthropology from the changing perspectives of the period, though also with wider geographical, archaeological and linguistic interests.
Pitt Rivers Museum is a museum displaying the archaeological and anthropological collections of the University of Oxford in England. The museum is located to the east of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and can only be accessed through that building.
Archaeology is the study of human activity in the past, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes.
Farnham is a village and civil parish in North Dorset, in the south of England, on Cranborne Chase, seven miles northeast of Blandford Forum. In the 2011 census the parish had a population of 183.
Henry Christy was an English banker and collector, who left his substantial collections to the British Museum.
Canon William Greenwell, was an English archaeologist and Church of England priest.
Tollard Royal is a village and civil parish on Cranborne Chase, Wiltshire, England. The parish is on Wiltshire's southern boundary with Dorset and the village is 6 miles (10 km) southeast of the Dorset town of Shaftesbury, on the B3081 road between Shaftesbury and Sixpenny Handley.
The year 1894 in archaeology involved some significant events.
The year 1884 in archaeology involved some significant events.
The Larmer Tree Gardens near Tollard Royal in south Wiltshire, England, were created by landowner Augustus Pitt Rivers in 1880 as pleasure grounds for "public enlightenment and entertainment". They were the first private gardens opened for public enjoyment in the United Kingdom, and were free to enter. The 11-acre (4.5 ha) Grade II* listed gardens are within the Rushmore Estate in Cranborne Chase, an ancient royal hunting ground and now an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Henry Balfour FRS FRAI was a British archaeologist, and the first curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum.
Major Michael Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers was a West Country landowner who gained notoriety in Britain in the 1950s when he was put on trial charged with buggery. This trial was instrumental in bringing public attention – and opposition – to the stringent laws against homosexual acts as they then stood.
Beatrice Mary Blackwood was a British anthropologist, who ran the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford from 1938 until her retirement in 1959.
St George William Lane Fox-Pitt was a British electrical engineer and student of psychic phenomena.
George Henry Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers was a British anthropologist and eugenicist who was one of the wealthiest men in England in the interwar period. He embraced anti-Bolshevism and anti-Semitism and became a supporter of Oswald Mosley, which led to him being interned by the British government for two years during the Second World War.
Edward Horace Man was a British administrator and anthropologist who studied the Andaman and Nicobar tribes in the 19th century. His collections of artefacts and photographs are held in the Pitt Rivers Museum.
Agnes Geraldine Grove born Agnes Geraldine Lane Fox also Agnes Geraldine Fox-Pitt; Lady Grove was an English aristocrat, diarist and essayist. She wrote to support women's suffrage, anti-vivisection and anti-vaccination.
Woodcutts Settlement is an archaeological site of the late Iron Age and Romano-British period on Cranborne Chase, England. It is situated about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the hamlet of Woodcutts, and about 1.75 miles (2.8 km) north-west of the village of Sixpenny Handley, in Dorset, near the boundary with Wiltshire. It is a scheduled monument.
Rotherley Down Settlement is an archaeological site of the late Iron Age and Romano-British period on Cranborne Chase, England. It is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of Berwick St John, and 1 mile (1.6 km) north of Tollard Royal, in Wiltshire, near the boundary with Dorset. It is a scheduled monument.
South Lodge Camp is an archaeological site of the Bronze Age, situated about 0.6 miles (1.0 km) south-east of the village of Tollard Royal, in Wiltshire, England. The site is on Cranborne Chase, near the boundary with Dorset. It is a scheduled monument.