Founded in 1884, The Pitt Rivers Museum displays the archaeological and anthropological collections of the University of Oxford.
It is a global museum, with a collection that draws together objects from all over the world and time periods.

General Pitt-Rivers, an influential figure in the development of archaeology and evolutionary anthropology, gave his collection to the University, with the provision that a permanent lecturer in anthropology be appointed, and since 1884 the collection has grown from 26,000 to over half a million objects, many of which were donated by early explorers.

The museum, housed in a 3-room building behind the Museum of Natural History, contains an extensive photographic, film, manuscript and sound collection with unique historical field recordings most of which are directly related to the rest of the collection.

Today the museum is a dynamic, forward-looking institution with many connections to connect with communities throughout the world.

The museum is also a teaching and research institution, and the curators are university lecturers in either cultural anthropology or prehistoric archaeology.

Fun Fact

General Pitt-Rivers was a highly methodological excavator by the standards of the time, and he is widely regarded as the first scientific archaeologist to work in Britain. His most important innovation was that all artefacts, not just beautiful or unique ones, be collected and catalogued.

About this Contributor

Contributor type
Minutes created
Sumbu: Earth Bow, Bayaka: Yeyi, Ibo Vocal Group Recording, Makuti and Mbonjo: Mondum and Eacute playing&singing, Children’s Song Celebrating Rain in South Sudan, Collection 3 #45, Collection 3 #7, Collection 3 #14, Collection 3 #27, Collection 3 #31, Collection 3 #38, Collection 1 #9, Collection 1 #22