University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology


Author: William Davenport

A Melanesian Wedding

Santa Cruz Island

By: William Davenport

Marriage is a social institution that appears to be universal to all human societies, but only some societies mark the event with a public celebration, that is, a wedding. Among those societies that do celebrate a wedding ceremony, there is a great deal of variation. Surely one of the most distinctive and colorful wedding ceremonies […]


Henri Rey

The Inventor from Tahiti

By: William Davenport

Imet Henri Rey in Tahiti in 1965. He was living in semi-retirement in the district of Pirae, about three kilometers outside Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia. With him lived two grown daughters, Pauline and Henriette, and usually several grand­daughters. A Tahitian cook from Moorea Island, called Tutu, came in daily to prepare three meals […]


States, Chiefdoms, and Tribes

By: William Davenport

In social and cultural anthropology, the term “chieftainship” refers to a form of government in which there are fixed political offices with designated authority over defined territories and the people living within their boundaries. The political offices of a chieftainship have minimal advisory and administrative powers, but there are always defined rules of succession for […]