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A Study of Artificial Cranial Deformation in New Britain

Author(s): Beatrice Blackwood and P. M. Danby


Source: The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol.
85, No. 1/2 (1955), pp. 173-191
Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2844190 .
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A Study of Artificial Cranial Deformation
in New Britain
BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY
Pitt Rivers Museum, and
Anthropology Laboratory (Department of Human Anatomy),
University of Oxford
PART I. THE LIVING (B.B.) *
THE CRANIAL DEFORMATION DISCUSSED IN THIS PAPER iS practised by the people of the south
coast of New Britain, including off-shore islands, and by those of the bush villages a short
distance inland, the area being, very approximately, bounded on the north by Lat. 60 S.
As is usual in Melanesia, their organization is into village groups rather than 'tribes', but
they are accustomed to apply to themselves, rather vaguely, the term Arawe (or Aruwi),
the name of one of the groups of off-shore islands, the use of which seems to have been
encouraged by a District Officer for convenience of administration. Although the people
of the inland villages differ from those of the coast in dialect and in some aspects of their
culture, they have enough in common to justify the use of the term Arawe for all, and it will
be so used in this paper.
During three months' residence in the area in I938, with headquarters at Mowehafen,
I visited a number of coastal and inland villages in company with small groups who were
going to visit relatives or to trade. The field work was done on behalf of the Pitt Rivers
Museum, University of Oxford, at the request of its then Curator, the late Professor Henry
Balfour, F.R.S., and the skulls collected now form part of the Museum's collections. The social
anthropology of the coastal Arawe has been studied by Mr John Todd (I934), of the Uni-
versity of Sydney. Except for noting its existence, he did not deal with cranial deformation.
The very striking cranial deformation characteristic of the Arawe, which has led to
their being known to the Whites as 'Long-heads', is produced by binding the heads of their
infants with a bandage made of bark-cloth. Apart from a small, but in certain districts
increasing, number of exceptions, every child, male or female, is subjected to this binding.
The motive for it appears to be purely an aesthetic one
-
the 'long-head' is admired,
and is considered attractive to the opposite sex. The most careful inquiry of many informants
failed to elicit any legends or stories connected with the custom, or any religious or other
sanctions supporting it. No information could be obtained regarding its origin, except the
usual remark that their forefathers did it. There appear to be no rites or ceremonies con-
nected with it at any stage.
The binding is put on almost immediately after the child has been washed after its
birth. It may be done either by the mother or by any of the women attending the parturi-
tion. Before the bandage is applied the head is covered with a black mixture made of the
charred wood of the tree called in the dialect of the M6wehafen District magas. Small sticks
of this wood are broken into pieces about half an inch long and placed in a coconut shell
*A shorter version of Part I of this paper was read at the Second International Congress of Anthropological and Ethno-
logical Sciences held at Copenhagen in 1938, and a very brief abstract was published in its Proceedings (Blackwood I939).
I am indebted to Brigadier-General W. R. McNicoll, C.B., C.M.G., Administrator of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea
at the time of my visit, for permission to bring home the skulls discussed by Mrs Danby in Part II. - B.B.
I74 BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY
with water. This 'paint' is said to help in making the binding effective, the bandage alone
being considered insufficient. The bandage consists of a strip of bark-cloth torn from one
of the large pieces worn by Arawe men as a loin cloth. This bark-cloth is made by the
natives of the bush village a short distance inland, who exchange it for gold-lip shell
(Meleagrina sp., highly valued as a sign of wealth by the Arawe). It has a design painted
upon it, chiefly variations on a pattern derived from a thorny creeper; this appears to be
merely decorative and to have no other significance. I saw one child with a bandage con-
sisting of a strip of trade silk, part of a loin cloth bought by its father when he was working
as an indentured labourer at Rabaul.
The procedure is as follows. A strip of bark cloth about six inches wide and a yard or
more in length serves for the first bandage of a new-born child. One end is laid across the
infant's forehead just above the eyes, usually beginning at the side of the forehead but some-
times at the back of the head. It is carried round from right to left, coming low down at the
back of the neck. In the case of a very small baby it covers the greater part of the ears; in
a slightly older child the tips only are covered. The protruding ears of one little boy were
attributed to the mother's carelessness in arranging the bandage when he was a baby. The
second round of the bandage almost covers the first, crossing the forehead a little above it,
and so on until the strip is finished. It is not tucked in at the back of the head, but projects
beyond the crown, leaving the top of the head visible. A very narrow but tough strip of
fibre, the skin of the stem of a creeper called talis, is passed many times round the head,
beginning near the crown, then passing to the lower edge of the bandage, just above the
eyes, then gradually filling up the space between. This is pulled tightly, and the two ends are
knotted over the forehead. The first bandage serves for about three weeks, larger pieces
being substituted as the child grows. The first bandage, when discarded, is buried in the
coconut grove, and is said to help the trees to bear well. No very great importance is attached
to doing this, however, and I was allowed to keep the first bandage of a baby born during
my visit. The photographs (P1. I, figs. I-4) show the second bandage of this baby, then
twenty-two days old, being placed in position.
The bandage is removed at intervals every day, at the discretion of the mother, who
is usually, particularly for her first child, advised by her own mother when it should be
replaced. Before the rebinding, the child's head is again treated with the black paint, applied
by the mother's palm, with considerable pressure on the forehead. The child's ears are flat-
tened against its head, and the bridge and nostrils of its nose pinched.
The amount of deformation produced is entirely left to the discretion of the mother,
who keeps the bandage fastened tightly if she wishes the child's head to be very 'long'. At one
day old the deformation was, in the child shown in the photographs, already very pro-
nounced, but as the baby could not then be brought out of the hut where the birth had
taken place, I was not able to take a photograph at this age. It is usual to take more trouble
over the heads of girls than of boys, as the extreme deformation is said to be attractive to
men. But this is not invariable as many boys and men have a
high degree of deformation.
There is very considerable variation, ranging from a scarcely noticeable flattening of the
forehead to a head almost pointed (see P1. I, figs. 7-9).
The infants do not appear to be distressed by the bandage, either while it is being put
on or afterwards. During the binding they usually lie placidly on the mother's lap, or take
the breast. It is rare for a baby to cry while its head is being bandaged; if it does it is given
the breast and the crying quickly ceases.
The binding is kept up for about a year, the time varying at the wish of the mother.
Several people said that it was continued until the child could run about alone, but some
children past this stage were still wearing their binding, while others who could barely walk
ARTIFICIAL CRANIAL DEFORMATION IN NEW BRITAIN
I75
had none. Reasons given for discontinuing it were that the head was 'long' enough, or that
the child kept pulling it off. A child who persistently refuses to keep the bandage on is
usually allowed to do without it, whatever its age, but such cases were, in my experience,
rare. On the arrival of another child the mother's attention is diverted and she may cease
to trouble about the head of -the older one.
Government officials take no action with regard to the practice of head-binding. The
missions are opposed to it, but not, on the whole, very actively. Natives who have come
much under mission influence, and returned labourers, who have been teased by their
fellow-labourers from other areas about the shape of their heads, were at the time of my
visit beginning to protest against having their children's heads bound, but the more con-
servative women generally insisted on doing it. I heard of a case in which a man's first three
children had been born on a mission station, and had not been bound, while his other two,
born after his return to his village, had been bound at the wish of their mother. He was
frequently heard to say that those two would not be as clever as the others when they grew
up. This attitude was, of course, due to the influence of the mission. I mention it because
it is an indication that the practice will gradually cease. Another man told me that he had
refused to have the head of his first child bound because he wanted him to be strong to carry
cargo. This child was about three years old at the time of my visit. His brother, then rather
less than a year old, was bound owing to the insistence of his mother, though his father did
not wish it. The contrast was very striking, as may be seen from P1. I, fig. 6. The only other
instance of an unbound head to come under my personal observation is that of a girl who
was born while both her parents were working at Rabaul (P1. I, fig. 5). She was the mother
of the baby born during my stay, and intended to see to it that her daughter did not suffer
from the disability inflicted by her parents on herself. Another woman, with a head only
slightly deformed, told me she was sorry her mother had not pulled the bandage tighter,
so that her head could be 'a good one'. Neither she nor anyone else, however, could give
me any reason why this particular shape of head should be admired. Mr Todd told me that
he heard people teasing a child whose head had not been bound by saying that his head
was like a stone, but they could give him no explanation of the comparison.
EFFECT OF THE HEAD-BINDING ON THE LIVING
It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain scientifically accurate data on
the effect of the head-binding and consequent deformation upon the mentality of the indi-
vidual. There are too few undeformed persons among the Arawe to provide a control group,
and to use another Melanesian group as a control would introduce an unknown number of
variables, even were suitable and adequate tests available. I am not conversant with the
work done in recent years, but at the time of my visit no intelligence test had been devised
which would be fair to people of primitive culture and at the same time would give adequate
differentiation and adequate standardization. I can, therefore, give only a subjective judge-
ment based on my own experience and on discussions with others who had had opportunities
of forming an opinion. The impression I obtained from three months' residence among
them, sharing in their activities as far as possible, is that the Arawe are quite equal in intelli-
gence to the other Melanesians of whom I have personal knowledge. Such infants as I had
the opportunity of observing at all closely seemed to develop at the usual rates as regards
walking and talking, and the adults show no signs of subnormal mentality. Their social life
runs on lines similar to those of other Melanesian societies, and their arts and crafts, while
not equal to those of the Solomon or the Sepik people, have been developed far beyond
what is purely utilitarian, as for example in the elaborate and interesting designs carved or
painted on shields, canoe paddles, bark-cloth, and other objects. Mr Todd, who lived among
I76 BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY
the Arawe for a year, formed a very high opinion of their intelligence, and described one
of his informants as 'one of the most remarkable personalities, black or white, I have ever
met' (personal communication). I took every available opportunity of discussing this ques-
tion with Government officials, missionaries, and planters who had Arawe natives working
for them. Officials and missionaries have usually had previous experience elsewhere in the
Pacific, and planters employ indentured labourers from a number of different localities,
so that they have a standard of comparison. All agreed that the Arawe are well up to if not
above the average New Guinea native in intelligence. Summing up, on my slight acquaint-
ance but supported by the opinion of those with whom I have discussed the subject, I suggest
that the head-binding and consequent deformation has no effect on mentality among the
Arawe.
As regards liability to disease, there is difference of opinion. In the short time at my dis-
posal I was unable, of course, to investigate this aspect of the subject personally. There are
no medical records which would be of use in this connexion. A trained nurse of much experi-
ence, who had worked for some years in the British Solomons before being transferred to
the Arawe district, where she had, at the time of my visit, been in close contact with the
natives for two years, was of the opinion that diseases such as meningitis, cerebral malaria,
and severe headaches were more common among the Arawe than among the Solomon
Islanders, and considered that this was due to the deformation. On the other hand, a medical
missionary of equal experience told me that he had not found these diseases more prevalent
among the Arawe than in other parts of Melanesia, and that he did not consider the head-
binding to have any harmful effects whatever. In the absence of statistical evidence based
on extensive records, both these opinions are, of course, purely subjective. Similar differences
emerged in discussion with other people. In reply to a request for his opinion on the general
health of the Arawe during his stay, Mr Todd (personal communication) wrote 'They seem
to suffer a good deal from headaches as witness the number of people with scars on their
orbital ridges resulting from the common habit of making small incisions there to cure a
headache. But as they probably all suffer from chronic malaria the existence of headaches
is not surprising.' The question of the effect of the deformation on health must, therefore,
remain an open one, pending the accumulation of a long series of medical records, with
suitable series for comparison.
A few words should perhaps be added about the collection of the skulls I brought home,
which are discussed in Part II of this paper. It is, or was until recently, the custom of the
Arawe to exhume the skulls of their dead at some indeterminate time after death, for the
purpose of conducting a second series of funerary rites. I had no opportunity of seeing this,
and quote the account of it given by Todd (I934, pp. 207-8)
The festival lasts one night only, and after it the skulls are placed in a new men's house which
has been constructed specially for the purpose. Prior to this they have been kept informally in the
houses of the relatives of the dead. Before being placed in the men's house they are displayed at its
door, together with very valuable gold lip shells, and during the night a type of death chant is sung
before them. Next day they are washed in the sea, painted with red ochre, and finally placed cere-
monially in the club-house.... It seems that the completion of the whole sequence is the exception
rather than the rule, but ideally after some years . . . the skulls are finally removed from the men's
house and buried without any ceremony. Indeed by this time only the close relatives have any per-
sonal interest in the dead.
Some of the skulls in my collection have been painted with red ochre, others have not,
being therefore presumably at different stages in the ceremonial above described. Owing
to the fact that these customs have been largely discontinued, being frowned upon by the
missions, and partly also because the time was approaching when the village would be called
upon to pay the smnall tax exacted by the Government from every adult male, they were
ARTIFICIAL CRANIAL DEFORMATION IN NEW BRITAIN
I77
not only willing, but actually eager to bring me the skulls of their deceased relatives. I took
notes of all the details they could give me about the people to whom the skulls had belonged,
including their sex and their relation to the men who brought them. The original sexing
of the series is based on this information. But I fear that the information was not always to
be relied upon, since, judging from arguments which took place in my presence, the identity
of some of the skulls is far from certain. For the same reason, it is not possible to state with
certainty which, if any, of the individuals whose skulls were collected, were related to one
another. There is a considerable amount of intermarriage (cf. Todd ibid. p. 97) SO it is
probable that some relationship existed between two or more of them, as was indicated by
the information received.
PART II. THE CRANIA (P.M.D.)
*
PREVIOUS STUDIES OF ARTIFICIAL DEFORMATION give little precise anatomical information as
to the effects of different deforming techniques on the morphology of the adult cranium.
The importance of adult cranial morphology in the study of human varieties both living
and prehistoric is widely recognized. All crania are subjected to some external physical
stresses during infancy and a study of the permanent effects of one type of deforming process
has therefore been carried out in order to study the behaviour of the human cranium under
more or less known conditions of stress. The crania used in this study came from the Arawe
tribe of southern New Britain, and the process of deformation used by the Arawe has been
described in the first part of this paper.
THE MATERIAL
Twelve deformed Arawe crania were brought to this country by Miss Blackwood. These
crania differ from one another considerably in form as do the heads of living Arawe (P1. I).
Undeformed heads were rarely seen among the living, but two examples of these, one a
woman and one a child, are shown in P1. I, figs. 5 and 6. In the absence of undeformed
crania for comparative purposes among the Arawe collection, use has been made of data
for untreated crania from a population of similar physical type (Parkinson I907; Speiser
I947). This cranial series, collected in part by Parkinson and studied by von Bonin (I936),
comes from the Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain.
Age. Estimates of the age of the Arawe crania were based on the condition of the
sutures (Todd & Lyon I925; Abbie I950) and on the teeth (Schultz
I935).
The assessment
of tooth wear was complicated by the Arawe habit of chewing areca nut; nevertheless in some
cases wear provided useful evidence of age. In general, data derived from these different
observations were consistent and gave the following distribution: under 20 years, I (No. 4);
20-30 years, 6 (Nos. I, 2, 6, 7, I I, and I2); 30-40 years, I (No. 8); 40 years upwards, 4
(Nos. 3,
5,
9, and io). Bone erosion and absorption of the alveolar border occurred in a
number of cases. Dental caries was also observed but post-mortem loss of teeth prevented
an estimate of its incidence.
Sex. Sex attributions were originally made on the basis of information given by the
Arawe donors of the skulls. It was, however, considered advisable to attempt some anatomi-
cal basis for sexing as a check on the field records. The difficulty of sexing this small sample
of deformed crania proved very considerable, first because many measurements and mor-
phological characteristics had obviously been altered by the deforming process, and secondly
because of uncertainties about the range of sexual dimorphism among Melanesians. Sex
*1 am very grateful to Dr J. S. Weiner for a great deal of advice and encouragement and to Professor Sir Wilfred Le
Gros Clark for a most helpful discussion. - P.M,D.
I 78 BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY
attributions were made for the Gazelle Peninsula series by von Bonin without reference to
the post-cranial skeleton, and he expresses some doubt on the reliability of his sexing tech-
nique. In general, the sexual differences in the Gazelle Peninsula crania were pronounced.
Assessment of sex in the present sample is based on cranial capacity and on the mor-
phology of the supra-orbital and mastoid regions. Von Bonin's cranial capacity means were:
males (n 55)
i285.7
cc.; females (n 30) I207.7 cc. He gives no sigma values and a
range of 200 cc. was therefore accepted for the purpose of classifying the Arawe crania. Mean
values for the Arawe sample, using Breitinger's method (Tildesley & Datta Majumdar
I944),
were: males I434.I cc., standard deviation 88.4; females I I73.2 cc., standard deviation
I22.3. The final sex assessment is shown in Table I. Clearly there can be no very great cer-
tainty in sex attributions for such a small sample without the confirming evidence of the
post-cranial skeleton. However, the sexes assigned agree with sex allocations made in the
field, with one exception (No. 6), which may possibly have belonged to a large female. The
sample appears on the basis of the final sex assessment to include both males and females
and reflects the fact that the Arawe apply headbands to both male and female infants.
TABLE I. Data used in Sexing Arawe Crania
Sex based on
Cranium Cranial Sex
No. Capacity Capacity Anatomical assigned
Assessment
7 '557 d d d
3 1483 d d d
6
1457 d d d
I I 1440 d d d
8
1430 d d d
9 1405
6? d d
10 1362 ? ?
I 1267
?
5 1195
I2
II79
2
I
075
4 I
055
METHOD
Craniometric points and planes used in this study were those defined by Buxton & Morant
(I933).
The following measurements were employed: L, glabello-occipital length; B, maxi-
mum biparietal breadth; B', minimum frontal breadth; H', basi-bregmatic height; H, basi-
vertical height; Max.H, maximum height from basion; OH', auriculo-bregmatic height;
A, biasterionic breadth; S'1, frontal chord; S'2, parietal chord; S'3, occipital chord; S1, frontal
arc; S2, parietal arc; S3, occipital arc; FL, foraminal length; FB, foraminal breadth; LB,
basi-nasal length; GL', basi-prosthionic length; G'H, upper facial height; GB, bimaxillary
breadth; J, bizygomatic breadth; NH/, nasal height; 01 (L), orbital breadth; 02 (L), orbital
height. The upper facial height (G'H) in some cases has a slightly lower value for the Arawe
series than the correct one, owing to damage to the tip of the alveolar process. The basi-
prosthionic length was used instead of the basi-alveolar length for this reason. The poria
were located anatomically by reference to the suprameatal triangles.
ARTIFICIAL CRANIAL DEFORMATION IN NEW BRITAIN
179
The angles (Fig. 3) quoted in Tables II and V were, with the exception of the orbit
angle and the basi-nasal horizontal angle (01),
derived from the sagittal contours on which
the Frankfurt Plane had been superimposed. 02 was calculated from the prosthion profile
angle (Prosthion Pl) and a triangle based on nasion, basion, and prosthion. The orbit
angle is described on page i84. The angles between the internal and external surfaces of the
basi-occipital bone and the Frankfurt Plane were measured with the aid of fine steel rods
attached to the surface of the bone as nearly as possible in the median sagittal plane.
Statistical Procedure. Sigma values for short series are not always reliable. Only very
marked increases in variability have therefore been noted. The t-test is designed for short
series. Its use for two numerically unequal series does not invalidate it, provided the vari-
ances of the two series being compared are not widely different.
THE EFFECTS OF DEFORMATION
Changes in the Vault. The most startling effects of the head-binding and frontal manipula-
tions practised by the Arawe appear in the infant vault almost immediately after application
of the bands (Plate I, fig. I). The severity and direction of the stresses resulting both from the
bands and from manual pressure on the forehead no doubt varies. The only Arawe infant
vault available for study shows oblique elongation and some narrowing. Adult Arawe crania
show narrowing in very different degrees and in different parts of the cranium. For instance,
No. 4 (Plate II, figs. i and 2) shows low values for all breadth measurements; No. 7 (Plate
III, figs. i and 2) has a very low minimum frontal breadth and some slight narrowing in
the region of the parietal bosses; No. I 2 (Plate II, figs. 3 and 4) has a normal minimum frontal
breadth but marked narrowing between the parietal bosses. Some of the crania (Nos. iI,
2, 8, 6, and io) do not appear to have suffered permanent reduction in breadth.
The data for head length do not allow of a simple interpretation. The means and
standard deviations for the glabello-occipital length (L) probably indicate instability in
this measurement (see Table II); this is also suggested by Fig. I. The two shortest skulls
(Nos. i i and 2) appear to show no narrowing but large increases in height. If the head length
is affected, as seems probable, this is not so clearly demonstrated as are the changes in breadth
or height measurements.
Oplsthlon
\ Oplsthpon Vho
B/as/onSaslon
Va/s/on
Baslon
A B
FIGURE I. Sagittal outlines of crania with skull-base lines superimposed: A, male crania Nos. 7 and II and a normal
Melanesian cranium; B, female crania Nos. 4 and 12 and a normal Melanesian cranium.
I8o BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY
Increased height of the vault is the most frequently observed effect of the Arawe type
of head-binding. It occurs both in those crania which show clear evidence of lateral com-
pression and also in those which retain fairly normal breadth measurements. The largest
increase in height occurs in No. i i (Plate IV, figs. i and 2), which is the most deformed of
the broad-vaulted group.
The position of the height increase depends on the degree of frontal and occipital flat-
tening, on the lengthening of the frontal and occipital chords (Table II), on the degree of
rotation of the frontal and occipital bones in relation to the Frankfurt Plane (Table V) and
no doubt on other factors. The increase in the basi-bregmatic height (H'), as reflected in
the index ioo H'/L, is generally greatest in those crania which show least backward rotation
of the frontal bone. Only in one case (No. i i) is the increase in height at the bregma greater
than the increase in maximum vertex height. Comparison of height measurements behind
the bregma was complicated by the fact that the position of the vertex is changed in the
deformed crania. In the untreated series the vertex, as the sagittal type contours show (von
Bonin I936), lies very close to the point at which the basi-vertical height cuts the sagittal
outline; the difference between the basi-vertical height (H) and the maximum height from
basion (Max.H) on the type contours is approximately i mm. in both sexes. In the deformed
crania the vertex is displaced backwards and the basi-vertical measurement is not adequate
to give an estimate of the total height increase. To estimate changes in cranial height the
maximum height from basion of the Arawe crania has therefore been compared with the
basi-vertical height for the untreated series. The error introduced is unlikely to be greater
than i
%.
The means for these measurement differ by I2.8 mm. and the means for the indices
IOO Max.H/L (Arawe) and ioo H/L (Gazelle Peninsula) by 6.8 units (Table II). Similar
differences are shown by the indices ioo B/H'
(7-4
units) and ioo LB/Max.H (8.i units).
It is difficult in the present sample to distinguish between the reactions of the male and
female groups owing to the likelihood that the female crania may have received more severe
treatment than the males, but Fig. i suggests that there may be differences in the behaviour
of the vault. Table V gives some indication that the position of the occipital squama may
be more readily altered in the female crania, and all the indices involving the biparietal
breadth (Table II) show that this measurement has suffered greater change in the female
crania.
The means and standard deviations for the arcs and chords of the vault reflect reduc-
tions in the anterior-posterior curvature of both frontal and occipital, and a marked increase
in curvature of the parietal. The resulting change in shape of the parietal bone varies from
individual to individual. The sutural margins of the bone in no case show marked indenta-
tions or irregularities, but the spatial relationships between the four margins of each bone
vary greatly, as also does the degree of curvature in different parts of the bone. In general
the maximum biparietal breadth occurs close to the squamous suture, rather lower than in
normal Melanesians (Plate IV, figs. 3 and 4).
The squamous region of the temporal bone is not greatly affected. The superior tem-
poral lines, however, adopt entirely new positions, mounting high on to the frontal squama
in extreme cases, and curving back in an elongated loop instead of the usual near-semicircle.
The supra-mastoid crests are very marked, a feature not unusual in both males and female
Melanesians (von Bonin I936).
The thickness of the vault does not appear to be abnormal except in those cases where
a marked boss occurs on the frontal bone in front of the bregma. This boss is shown in an
extreme degree in the sagittal outline of No. I2 (Fig. I, B). It also occurs to a marked degree
in No. 9 (Plate II, figs. 3 and 4). A saddle-like depression behind this type of frontal boss
has been noted in various kinds of deformed skulls by a number of authors (e.g., Hrdlicka
TABLE II. Means and Male Standard Deviations
for
Measurements and Indices
of Deformed Arawe Crania*
Means
ol
Standard Means cl Standard
_______- _______-
~~~~~~~~~Deviations --- Deviations H-
Character
Character - _______
-__
Gazelle IGazelle Gazelle Gazelle Gazelle
Gazelle
4
Arawe Penin.. Diff. Arawe r enin- Duf.Aae Pnnff. Arawe Penin- f.Aae Pnn uf
rawe Pnn
sula sula sula sula sula
sula
L
185*4 184*3 I" 175-8 173-3 2'5 7.57 5,7o G'H
71.1 67-8 3-3 68-o
63-6 4-4 3-92
3-96
B
130-3
132-4
2-1 121'2 I27'9 6-7 5-o8 4-36 GB
96-9 97-0 0-1 94.7 91.4 33 4'90 4-28 z
B'
89-6 93'3 3.7 87-2 89-9 2-7 7-59 4-85
3
134'5 135-3 o-8
I25-0 I 25-6 o-6
4-85 5-02
H'
140'3
134-7 56 136-4 127-8
8~ ~o
4-41
H'
546 47.5 7.1
496 45-4 4-2
526
H
1
37-5t -
- - - -
391l
01
(L) 43'3 44-4
1P1
40-8 41'3 0'5 1.13
Max.H
150'3 137-5t 12-8 146-6
-
773 3.9I ?
02 (L) 34.9 32'7 212 35-6 32'7 2'9
1P47 1-84
OH'
i i8*7
115-6
3-I11"3.4
- -
4'24 -
sit
II9-I
109-7 9'4 117'2 104-3 I 29 5-6
- ioo
BIL 69-7 71-9 2-2 69* i
73-8 4-7 4-85 2-66
o
S,' 115.9 117.4
1-
ioi-8
110.5 8-7 5-84
- ioo H'/L
77.3 73'2
4V
77-6 73.9 3.7
6*13 2'37 ~
5,'
102-4 96- i
6-3 103-2 93.7 9-5 7-46
- ioo Max.H/L 81-1 74-3t 6-8
83*7 -4-71 -:
SI
I30-7
1I24-5
6-2 I25-8 i i8-6 7-2 5-76
- ioo B/H' 91.1
98-5 7.4 88-9 99.9 IPlO 4'31
T9~5
H
S2 140-1 132'5 7-6 121-8
125-I 3-3 7-20 - ioo B'/B 68-8
71.7 2'9 71,9 - - 6-i8
--
5,
II3-1
1I7-5 4A4
112-6 I
ITO 0~4
4'30
- ioo LB/Max.H 66- i
7442 8-i
64-8
- -
5'32 -
A
104-7 107-8 3-1 99'2
103-2 4-0 5-70
- 100
J/B
102'2 102'1 01l
103-I
98-3 4-8 3.74
3T92 Z
FL
36-9 34-3 2-6
33.4 32-4 I1.0 2-6i 2-28 'oo FB/FL
79-8 82-6 2-8 8o-8 82-8 2-0 4-20
5-82
FB
29-6 28-3
1-3
27-0 26-9 o-I 2-58 P93 ioo G'H/GB
73.4 7Qo' 3.4 72-4 69-4 3-0 5-90 4-48
LB
101.4 100-9
0-5 95'0
95"2
0'2 4-83 3.'99 100
02/01
(L) 8o-6
73-8 6.8
87-4 79.1 8-3 3-46 4-76 Z
*For the male Arawe series the number of observations
(n)
is
7 and for the female
5;
for the male and female Gazelle Peninsula series it varies between
6o
and
229.
tDerived from data in von Bonin
(1936, Appendix
A).Z
4See text.
I82 BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY
I935;
Goldstein I940). Frontal thickening in the Arawe crania appears to be concentrated
medially and is due to enlargement of the diploe accompanied by bulging of the outer table
of the bone. The inner table remains undisturbed. This thickening occurs to a marked degree
in the present sample only in those crania which show extreme deformity associated with
a very high and narrow vault. The difference between the cranial index (IOO B/L) and the
length-height index (ioo Max.H/L) in No.
9
is twenty and in No. I2 seventeen units; the
only other cranium which shows such a large difference between these indices (No. 4 twenty-
two units) also has a frontal boss and saddle. In the region of the saddle the diploe is almost
non-existent, and the two tables are closely juxtaposed. This anatomical detail may be associ-
ated with the disturbed blood-supply occasioned
by
the early stages of the head-binding
process recorded in Plate I, but the saddle also occurs in heads which have been subjected
to quite different deforming techniques, and its cause is not yet clear.
The middle meningeal arteries maintain in general their usual positions in relation
to the bones, but in No. 7 the smaller branches of the anterior branch of the middle menin-
geal artery lie closely together behind the coronal suture (Plate IV, fig. 3).
Sutures. The evidence from so small a sample can scarcely be considered of much value
in relation to such a variable phenomenon as suture closure. The data for suture closure
rates described by Todd & Lyon (I925) and Abbie (I950) for Europeans and Australian
aborigines respectively were considered in relation to the present sample. It seems that the
course of suture closure has not been greatly disturbed. The Arawe sample does not show
the tendency for the sagittal suture to close and the coronal suture to remain open reported
by Risdon
(I939)
for the deformed crania from Lachish. Sagittal closure appears to begin
in the central part of the suture and closure of the coronal at the pterion, as in Australian
aborigines. There are eleven sutural bones ranging in size from 7 mm. by 5 mm. to 28 mm.
by 2 I mm. distributed among the twelve Arawe crania. Five epipteric bones include two sym-
metrical pairs (Nos. i and 4). In No. 4, fronto-squamous sutures occur on both sides. Many
minute ossicles occur in the pars complicata of the coronal suture in Nos. 8 and i I.
Degree of Deformity of the Vault. Consideration of the individual crania, together with
their measurements and indices - which there is not space to include here - led to a classi-
fication into three groups as follows: extreme deformation, Nos. 4, I2, 7, and 9; moderate
deformation, Nos. 5, II, 6, 2, and 8; some deformation, Nos. i, 3, and io. In Tables III,
IV, and V the crania are arranged first in male and female groups and then in the order
given above, corresponding as nearly as possible to the general degree of deformation exhibited.
An index of frontal deformity (Table III) was arrived at by adding the value of ioo
B'/S1 - which reflects the change in shape of the frontal bone - to the angle made by the
frontal chord (S1) with the line joining the bregma and the point at which the perpendicular
from the mid-point of S1 cuts the surface of the frontal bone. This angle (Z4) reflects the
degree of the frontal squama (Table III).
TABLE III. Index of Frontal Deformity in Arawe Crania
Sex
| c
Cranium 7 9 II 6 8 1 3 4 12 5 2 o0
No.
ioo B'/S'1 64 70 73 78 86
75
79 64 75 66 82
85
ScZe I4 I7 I5
I8
9 97
I8
I3
I8 I6 I6
I7
!Score 78 87
88 96
95
92
97 77 93
82 98 I102
ARTIFICIAL CRANIAL DEFORMATION IN NEW BRITAIN I83
TABLE IV. Angles between Internal and External Surfaces of Basi-Occipital and
Frankfurt Plane in Arawe Crania*
Sex
> ?
CraniumNo. 7 9 1I 6 8 I 3 4 12 5 2 10
Internal 54 6o
58
59 49 56 - 59 57 57 56 55
angle
External 37 42 38 4I 26 31 40 58 36 33 33
angle
Difference 17 i8 20 i8 23 25 - I19 19 21 23 22
*The ranges of Falkenburger's (1938) measurements of the internal (clivus) angle with the Frankfurt Plane were:
type droite (circulaire or anterieur-posterieur) 55-6; type oblique (circulaire or anterieur-posterieur) 44-58.
Changes in the Skull-Base. The most striking anatomical change in the skull base was
observed in two extreme cases (Nos. 7 and 9) which were sectioned. In both these cases the
presphenion lay either directly on or very close to the nasion-basion line a condition reminis-
cent of that found in lower primates (Plate III, fig. 3). Another very unusual morphological
feature concerns the superior margin of the petrous temporal, which in some cases extends
backwards as a curved lip overhanging the sigmoid sulcus.
The mastoid processes are partially engulfed on their medial surfaces by the down-
ward swelling of the jugular process of the occipital. This is sometimes associated with a
marked enlargement of the jugular foramina, usually asymmetrical. In crania Nos. 4 and I I
the petrous occipital fissure is wide open at its posterior end. The position, but probably not
the dimensions, of the foramen magnum appears to be affected; its slope in relation to the
Frankfurt Plane varies from M7? to -I8?. The progressive diminution of the angel between
the inner and outer surfaces of the basi-occipital bone (Table IV) suggests that a change in
shape of this bone may have occurred.
A change in the orientation of the skull-base in relation to the Frankfurt plane is indi-
cated by the increase in the value of the basi-nasal horizontal angle
(O1
/ ) which accompanies
increasing deformity (Table V). The vertical distance of the nasion above the Frankfurt
Plane is greater in the more deformed male crania than in the less deformed, but this change
is not noticeable in the female crania. These show a steady increase in the distance of the
basion below the Frankfurt Plane which in turn is not noticeable in the male crania. Dis-
turbance both in the supra-orbital region and in the margins of the foramen magnum are
anatomically obvious. There is evidently some difference in the way the male as opposed
to the female skull-base accommodates itself to the changes in the vault occasioned by head-
binding.
The Face. The means and standard deviations of measurements of the face and the
resulting indices are given in Table II. These figures suggest that the upper facial height,
the nasal height, and the orbital height have increased as a result of deformation. Increase
in the value of the index ioo
JIB seems due to a reduction in maximum biparietal breadth
rather than to any increase in bizygomatic breadth. Data for nasal measurements in Melan-
esians are likely to be unreliable owing to the anatomy of the base of the piriform aperture.
The Arawe crania varied considerably in this respect, showing grooving and various forms
of nasal spine. The prosthion profile angle reflects for the female group an increasing pro-
trusion of the face with increased
deformity.
This effect is not
apparent
in the male group.
184 BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY
TABLE V. Values of some Angles of the Vault, Base, and Face for Arawe Crania
Sex . _ __ _
Cranium No. 7 9 II 6 8 I 3 4 12 5 2 10
ProsthionPZ
79 8o 73 8i 85 76? 77 70 72 74? 74 84?
01 34 3 1 32 24 25 24 ? 29 33 3 1 30 33 26
Bregma-nasion with
Frankfurt Plane 42 48 52
55 56 50 48 45 47 45 50 52
Lambda-inion with
Frankfurt Plane
II7
io6 IOI IOO 93 99 IOI I24 II5 II3
IOO 93
Lambda-inion with
lambda-opisthion 13 I4
2I i6 25 20 20
I3
7 I2 i8 26
Orbit angle -7 -3 -4 ? +7 +4 +4 -I3
-5 -7 -3 +5
The most striking of all the changes in the facial region relates to the relative position
of the upper and lower borders of the orbit. The mid-points of the upper and lower borders
of the orbit were marked and the angle between a line joining these points and the per-
pendicular to the Frankfurt Plane was measured (Table V). The normal male Melanesian
skull with its heavy supra-orbital ridges gives a strongly positive value for this angle. No. 8
has the strongest supra-orbital ridges among the Arawe crania and shows the highest positive
value for the orbit slope and the lowest value for the orbital index. Fig. 2 shows the values
for the orbit angle plotted against the degree of frontal deformity (Table III). The correla-
tion coefficient for these two variables is -0o795. The orbital surface of the ethmoid is flat
antero-posteriorly and the downward lipping of the supra-orbital margin appears in most
cases to be much reduced. No noticeable changes were observed in the diameters or curva-
ture of the malars, which were large. These bones showed heavy rugosities for the attach-
ment of the masseter muscles.
0 /0
09 *2
0
0
U 0 /2
-0
@4
. I . I I ..l.I
Index of frontal deformity (Table III)
FIGURE 2. The orbit angle plotted against the index of frontal deformity (r -0=795).
ARTIFICIAL CRANIAL DEFORMATION IN NEW BRITAIN I 85
Bregma
/ \t~~~~~~~~~~aion
Prosthion
FIGURE
3. Sagittal
outline of a
Lambda
sK normal cranium, showing the
angles used in this study (Tables
III, IV, and V).
I n l ~~~~~Basion
Opisthion
DISCUSSION
The purpose of the present part of this study has been to establish in some detail the effects
of head-binding, as practised by the Arawe, on the final morphology and metrical properties
of the adult cranium. In doing so, the small group of Arawe crania has been compared
with an untreated series of crania also from New Britain. Parkinson (I907) describes the
coastal peoples of west and south New Britain as physically indistinguishable from those of
the north-east Gazelle Peninsula with occasional exceptions in nose form. Although the
north-east Gazelle Peninsula sample cannot be regarded with absolute certainty as repre-
senting an undeformed Arawe series - which was unobtainable - it is very probably adequate
for comparative purposes. The effects of head-binding are so marked that slight differences
in form due to minor genetic discrepancies between the two populations are most unlikely
to invalidate the comparisons made in this study. The list of t-tests quoted in Table VI sup-
ports such a view. Very high values of t, signifying large differences between the two series,
coincide with deformities which are obvious to the eye
-
for instance the greatly increased
basi-bregmatic and maximum heights from basion and length of frontal chord. The bimaxillary
breadth and basi-nasal length, and also the glabello-occipital length, give low values of t,
suggesting that there is no statistically demonstrable difference between the two series in these
measurements. In these comparisons the t values provide a graduated list reflecting degrees
of probability of change due to deformation.
TABLE VI. Comparison between Gazelle Peninsula Series of Male
Crania and Deformed Male Arawe Crania by Means of the t- Test*
Measurement
Value of
I
Bimaxillary breadth (GB) 0.I44
Basi-nasal length (LB) 0.32I
Glabello-occipital length (L) 0.467
Maximum biparietal breadth (B) i.82
Minimum frontal breadth (B')
2.24t
Upper facial height (G'H) 2.37
Basi-bregmatic heightt(H') 4.36
Frontal chord (S1) 6.88
Maximum height from basion (Max.H) 7.2 I
*The means and standard deviations for the Gazelle Peninsula sample (n
=
6o) used in these comparisons were cal-
culated from data given in von Bonin (I936, Appendix A).
tSignificant differences between the two series for 6o degrees of freedom are indicated by values of t exceeding 2X00
at the 5% significance level and 2X39 at the 2% significance level.
I86 BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY
Quite apart from the contrasts with von Bonin's Gazelle Peninsula series, the data for
the present sample give for many measurements and indices a more or less regular gradation
of change with increasing deformity as assessed by inspection. That the changes in different
parts of the cranium are interdependent is strongly suggested by correlation coefficients
(a) for the basi-nasal horizontal angle and the upper facial index (r = +o886), (b) for the
angle of slope of the orbit and the index of frontal deformity (r - -0o795) and (c) for the
basi-nasal horizontal angle and the index of frontal deformity (r o
-0.587).
These correla-
tions apply to the whole Arawe series and so are not influenced by the sexing process. The
direct metrical evidence for a lengthening of the upper face resulting from the deforming
process is supported by (a). The anatomical changes in the anterior and middle cranial
fossae, involving the depression of the presphenion and sphenoidal limbus and the backward
extension of the superior margin of the petrous bone over the reduced posterior cranial fossae,
clearly result from pressures relayed by the frontal and occipital bones. The positive corre-
lation between basi-nasal horizontal angle and frontal deformity suggest that pressure on
the frontal bone plays a major part in the depression of the floor of the cranium in front of
the foramen magnum. The fact that a localized pressure on one part of the cranium can
affect changes of such magnitude in other parts is worth remembering when considering
individual or group cranial morphology. It seems reasonable to infer that the form of the
entire cranium might be modified by one or two novel anatomical features produced by minor
genetic change.
Striking asymmetries occur in the Arawe sample amounting in one case to a discrepancy
of some I20 between the mid-line of the palate-sphenoid-basi-occipital and that of the occi-
pital squama. Asymmetry of the jugular foramina, also recorded by von Bonin for the un-
treated series, appears to be an exaggeration of the normal condition which is no doubt
related to the general asymmetry of the venous system of the head and neck (Le Gros Clark
I 934) a
The degree of distortion shown by the Arawe crania implies that the plasticity of the
infant cranium during growth is very great indeed. Ewing (I950) has shown already that
a drop of ten units occurs in the mean cranial index of second-generation Lebanese immi-
grants into the United States, following cessation of cradle-boarding habits. The male means
for indices involving height measurements (ioo B/H', Ioo Max.H/L, and ioo LB/Max.H)
have already been shown to have changed by from 6 to 8 units in the Arawe series com-
pared with the untreated series. It is evident that in head-binding the many pressures must
to some extent cancel one another out, and that resulting changes in individual measure-
ments and indices for the vault may be correspondingly smaller. On the other hand, the
morphological changes occasioned by head-binding might be expected to be more wide-
spread than those occasioned by cradle-boarding.
Morphological differences in the present sample were very marked, although all indi-
viduals are likely to have been subjected to basically similar deforming techniques. The
sample is so small that variabilities are not likely to be very reliable, but the high standard
deviations for many measurements and in particular for L, B', Max.H, H', S3', and S2 will
be noted. Abnormally high variabilities for measurements of crania which have been sub-
jected to some degree of deformation have been reported by Angel (I953) for the Neolithic
material from Khirokitia (Cyprus). His 'relatively undeformed' series showed high varia-
bilities for the cranial index, head breadth, occipital arc, face breadth, orbital index, and
orbital height. Sigma values for head length and height are not given. It is to be expected
that high variabilities in this group which had suffered some degree of plano-occipital deforma-
tion would be differently distributed from those of the Arawe sample.
As far as the evidence goes, changes in the sutures resulting from deformation concern
ARTIFICIAL CRANIAL DEFORMATION IN NEW BRITAIN I87
their spatial relationships rather than their detailed anatomy. The process of closure does
not appear to have been hastened as Virchow suggested (see Dingwall I93I). Since apposi-
tion of the sutural margins of the bones of the vault begins while the headbands are being
applied, it is perhaps surprising that marked irregularities in the course of the sutures have
not been observed. It might be inferred that pressure between adjacent bones is not an im-
portant factor in suture closure.
Sex differences in deformed crania have been noted by Angel at Khirokitia, both in
the frequency of occurrence and the anatomical effects of deformity. Differences in growth
rates of the head for girls and boys reported by Davenport (I940) would lead one to expect
different final effects of distorting processes experienced in infancy. Both Miss Blackwood
and Parkinson (I907) have reported a tendency shown by the Arawe to treat their girl
children to a longer period of head-binding, and the five female crania do show a greater
general level of deformity; there are also some indications (for instance in the data for the
slope and shape of the orbit in the related movements of nasion and prosthion, in the position
of basion, and of the occipital squama) that the final state of the cranium in males and
females tends to be different. Angel's data for the Khirokitia crania suggest that height
increases take place further forward in the vault in females than in males. This effect, like
the movements of the occipital bone implied by Fig. i and Table V, may be related to the
potentially less rugged female nuchal area.
There is a good deal of evidence that the time required to produce permanent changes
in the infant skull is much shorter than the period of one or two years for which the Arawe
apply headbands. It has been suggested that birth-moulding alone may produce lasting
asymmetries (Le Gros Clark
I934).
Brodie's (I94I) radiographic study of the growth of the
cranium indicates that by three months after birth the infant cranium has acquired the
shape which provides the pattern for all subsequent development, and observations on living
material in the field (Hrdlicka I935; Hasluck I947) suggest that manipulations and the
applications of bands or boards etc. for a few weeks, or even as little as one week, may suffice
to produce permanent change amounting sometimes to extreme deformity.
The recognition of the extreme plasticity of the infant cranium and the permanence
of the changes wrought in it adds further uncertainty to existing difficulties in the inter-
pretation of biometric data for the head. In the present sample there exists the curious para-
dox that although the anatomical changes in the skull-base are very obvious morphologically,
the composite measurement LB, which spans frontal, ethmoid, sphenoid, and basi-occipital,
remains within the normal range for this type of skull (t o032 I). Another interesting point
concerns the glabello-occipital length and the frontal chord which is to some extent a com-
ponent of that length. In this case the composite measurement has a very low t value (0-467)
while the frontal chord gives a value of 6*88, indicating an enormous degree of change, which
is indeed obvious to the eye. The use of metrical data for the elucidation of biological affinities
between groups on a subspecific level has long been recognized as complicated and difficult,
and in particular metrical data for the head are known to result from the interaction of many
different contributory influences (Abbie
I947).
The significance of the classical anthro-
pological measurements for the head and the face will remain largely obscure until the
detailed mechanism of bone growth in general and of cranial development in particular
is more fully understood.
The fact that no noticeable disturbance of function has been reported by Miss Blackwood
and other observers who have had dealings with the Arawe suggests that the changes involved
in the shape of the brain itself do not adversely affect normal activity. Unfortunately no
precise sense-data are available. The balancing of the head may possibly be disturbed. The
fact that the deforming process usually shifts the mass of the head backwards means that
i88 BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY
the nuchal muscles have to do less work in counterbalancing the weight of the face and jaws
(Schultz I942), and in some of the Arawe crania the nuchal lines have almost vanished.
The condyles of at least one mandible were rotated backwards to a very unusual degree.
Von Bonin reports a minority of cases of dental disease in his large sample. The incidence
in the present sample seems high by comparison.
Attention has already been drawn to the variety of head-forms which result in the present
sample from one type of deforming process. It seems that a classification of deformed skulls
based on vault shape is not likely to be very meaningful. The terms in general use, such as
'fronto-occipital', 'plano-occipital', 'cuneiform', 'cylindrical', 'antero-posterieur', or 'circulaire'
either describe rather inexactly where the pressure has been applied or vaguely define the
shape of the vault. To name the bone to which pressure is applied is not sufficient. For
instance, pressure on the occipital above the inion is likely to have very different effects from
pressure below the inion; the same is true of pressure on the frontal above and below the
point of maximum curvature. Further, definitions based on pressure-points and shape of
vault make no allowance for the widely different growth potentials of different individuals.
It would be most useful for the study of the effects of cranial deformation if ethnographers
and archaeologists who acquire obviously deformed material would give photographs or
simple drawings, accompanied in the case of archaeological material by accurate diagrams
showing the orientation in situ of the various skulls. In the case of living peoples, details of
the deforming process together with a description of any factors likely to contribute to the
final shape of the cranium, for instance, dietary habits, disease incidences, load carrying, etc.
would add to the value of any subsequent study.
The extent to which pressures less severe than those resulting from birth-moulding or
intentional manipulations, head-binding, etc. may permanently influence 'normal' head-
shape remains uncertain. Anatomical and physiological studies indicate that pressure normally
plays an important part in determining bone form (Murray I936). The changes demon-
strated in this study are in some respects so drastic, and are so widely distributed throughout
the cranium, that there seems little reason for assuming that lighter stresses may not materi-
ally modify cranial form, although to a lesser degree. The occurrence of large-scale uninten-
tional deformation is sometimes noticed and recorded, as for instance the occipital flattening
observed by Hewitt & Lawrence (i 9II) among the Land Dayaks of Borneo who use a
wooden block for a pillow. We do not know at what point in prehistory the development
of techniques of child care on a systematic and cultural basis may have supervened. It seems
likely on the evidence of living Australian aborigines that some wooden container, basket,
or sling must have been casually used as a cradle in very early times, but continuous move-
ment from place to place among Palaeolithic and Mesolithic peoples probably militated
against rigid cradling routines. The development of consistent cradling habits or of cradle-
boarding etc. probably awaited a higher level of technical development. The earliest evidence
for purposeful deformation comes from Jericho c. 6000 B.C. (personal observation) but is not
conclusive. Certainly some practice similar to cradle-boarding must have been followed at
Khirokitia C. 4000 B.C. It seems that with increasing domestic skills and the greater security
of village life the necessity for mothers to carry their infants continuously with them must
have been somewhat reduced. Such a change in domestic habits would have been likely to
become more marked as the size and complexity of the civilized settlements of the Bronze
Age developed. It is therefore interesting that in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages a complete
new range of cephalic indices appear, which are beyond the known natural limits of vari-
ability of Palaeolithic man. Mild but continually recurring pressure on the occiput during
the first year of life due to cradling could almost certainly have increased the cephalic index,
thus shifting the whole range towards hyperbrachycephaly. Unfortunately we are never
ARTIFICIAL CRANIAL DEFORMATION IN NEW BRITAIN I89
likely to know what the infant-handling of these early peoples was. It might be interesting,
however, to discover whether existing primitive peoples who carry their infants in soft slings
etc. without much pressure on the head during early infancy do in fact ever exhibit a very
high incidence of brachycephaly associated with occasional hyperbrachycephaly of a non-
pathological kind. The distribution of consistent hyperbrachycephaly has been shown by
Ewing (1950) to coincide with the world distribution of cradle-boarding, as far as present
knowledge goes, and this observation suggests that extreme short-headedness is associated
with externally applied pressure. The appearance of hyperbrachycephaly in the pre-pottery
Neolithic levels at Jericho and later in the Neolithic levels at Khirokitia more or less coin-
cides with the gradual increase in frequency of brachycephals about this period, and the two
effects may possibly result from a similar set of causes. However this may be, it is abundantly
clear that external physical stresses as well as genetic factors operate simultaneously on every
human cranium, and that this renders the drawing of conclusions as to racial origins from
parallelisms of form a very uncertain process. Indications that the practice of head-binding
and manipulation for short periods after birth is much more widespread than is generally
realized emphasize the necessity for the collection of data on cradling and other details of
child-care. In the absence of such information, as is necessarily the case with archaeological
material, it follows that caution should be observed in drawing conclusions as to group
affinities from head and face measurements.
SUMMARY
Twelve crania from New Britain, artificially deformed by head-binding in infancy, have
been studied. Considerable differences in the reactions of individual crania to the same type
of deforming process have been noted. These are sufficient to cast some doubt on the value
of the usual terminology applied to deformed crania.
The most interesting morphological change was in the position of the sphenoid-ethmoid
suture. Two of the severely deformed crania were sectioned, and in both the presphenion
lay very close to the nasion-basion line. This and other modifications in form appear to
have no adverse effect on functions.
The fact that stresses on the vault can alter the structure and proportions not only of
the vault but also of the skull-base and face is clearly demonstrated. The plasticity of the
whole cranium is shown to be greater than is usually realized.
The most important implication of this study is that changes in one part of the cranium,
whether produced by external factors such as infant handling methods or by internal factors
such as minor genetic change, will be likely to affect the shape and anatomical relationships
of the skull as a whole.
In the absence of information concerning external physical stresses on the infant cranium,
caution is necessary in the interpretation of metrical data for the head.
I 90 BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY
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I947.
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ARTIFICIAL CRANIAL DEFORMATION IN NEW BRITAIN 191
LEGENDS TO PLATES
PLATE I
FIG. i. Mother with baby twenty-two days old. Beginning to put on the bark-cloth binding.
FIG. 2. Beginning to fasten the binding.
FIG. 3. Fastening the binding, second stage.
FIG. 4. Fastening nearly completed.
FIG. 5. Mother and baby now seven weeks old. The mother's head was not bound in infancy.
FIGS. 7-9. Varieties of cranial deformation.
PLATE II
FIGS. I-2. Cranium No. 4. Norma lateralis and norma verticalis.
FIGS. 3-4. Cranium No. I2. Norma lateralis and norma verticalis.
PLATE III
FIGS. I-2. Cranium No. 7. Norma lateralis and norma verticalis.
FIG. 3. Cranium No. 7. Norma medialis. 'P' indicates the position of the presphenion.
PLATE IV
FIGS. I-2. Cranium No. I I. Norma lateralis and norma verticalis.
FIGS. 3-4. Normal Melanesian cranium. Norma lateralis and norma verticalis.
BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY. Artificial Cranial Deformation in New Britain PLATE I
EXAMPLES OF CRANIAL DEFORMATION
_ ' W T_
: =
............
.. B_ ..
......................... 0. . .,.
'^"' t75 '^ t 1
Qp;
i_sEM!! X _
'@; _ _1!.a.- ife > e-
h _ _ _ w _ t_ | [
W N,'. ... 1 | ..... r S-1 E
k .,., : n '
.................................. . _ A _ -
, LS9 S F s _ i 4 * _ _
i_ _ !e l i t N * _
N _ S1 _ _ts _ l *_ 1_ *
a | A. - , | _ *i
_ I | ___ _rj | ... | * _ - E
S0q.,, I_ i | __ _||tr l I_ _11 ;iii 3|1 -F
. .
.
S-w l U -F _ - l t_ il *1
FIG. I FIG. 2 FIG. 3
*?:: :} l_: ......................... ::::. :. , a, ....................
_, ' 'a' t',
!E
_- k-g _ r]@ * 1
9t.}i_^ -
S
_fi=_ -
_ 4_, _ _7Pa
.>. jv v
__.. 4LF
ni III!F gN.?.a !.4_ _L wivSS
jS, , . *_ ,,,,_,,,,,,., .
_si
_-' 6#qHsgS S^
a ors_ _$-#
i ' 4 99 3i! j _ _ i
:, _ n -
_w _ _ _
__a_ TQ
S4n __ di 11 !' ^ 'St.! >2s,
FIG. 4 FIG. 5 FIG. 6
B R*
^*wo
_* t- O
n_ fs -E,0_ _ as ^ ,#_ .......................... ;-. .;
L'
_
L _ ......................... s .... *^:^> .......... ' .S;iX R .b
B' ' . '
_
5_- _1- t _
t
:g.^e:._
"_r \ :::.:
-_E t r.X J_ , 1_ *q_2 2 r .. _
aiB;o i _ gES_ -e s. 8e } .
|; dj?' :; . ', _W .
^. _'.: :S?,. .;;
i i: j, _:: ._X^.;:: .s: __
........................................................ _E _ ,_ .... ' il
_ _- _
. , . ................................. ,9 . .
_e'
-s 1 .1
i "
_ L
FIG. 7 FIG. 8 FIG. 9
BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY. Artificial Cranial Deformation in New Britain PLATE
II
TWO DEFORMED ARAWE CRANIA
FIG. I FIG. 2
FIG.
3 FIG. 4
BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY. Artificial Cranial Deformation in New Britain PLATE III
A DEFORMED ARAWE CRANIUM
_>
. _
{k:'s E
w_ X _!
_ & , 3r
&vat. * s l |
l_ Di I F _ w
_r
FIG. I FIG. 2
.e . . ....
s,s*@
. ....... . .
AW I ' X s
/% a i :.
_l
..
_ _ . .
l l _ , S . L
_ I " . e . ,
e;_* I I i | | =. ;k
S* 8 . l X 111S
_ i l l - _ ..
_- ; l l | _ W
| _ l I * _
liN
1@ e_.
* _ | l - - _ _
_ U l U r _ _
._l I I |
11 l I | __ _1111E 3|>;r
*s_l l l _l _
_s 1
.,,
*A%P.
:4s z = l
\, ay
*'.x_r
.}
FIG. 3
BEATRICE BLACKWOOD & P. M. DANBY. Artificial Cranial Deformation in New Britain PLATE IV
A DEFORMED ARAWE AND A NORMAL MELANESIAN CRANIUM
FIG. I FIG. 2
FIG.
3
FIG.
4