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BY STEWART CULIN1
Dr Hjalmar Stolpe, the distinguished Swedish archeologist and anthropologist, who died January 27, 1905, was born in Gäfle, Sweden, April 23, 1841. He was graduated in 1860 from the University of Upsala, from which institution he received the degree of Ph.D. in 1872.
Dr Stolpe's first scientific investigations were in zoology, and were particularly devoted to ants. In 1870, aided by the Academy of Science, he studied the ants of the island of Gotland, and in the following year began to apply himself to archeologic research, in which his interest was awakened through his studies of amber, pursued on account of the insects which are enclosed in it. Led by the fact that amber is found in profusion in the so-called "black soil" of the island of Björkö, in Lake Malar, he went there in search of it. His finds inspired him with a desire for archeological investigation, and at his own initiative and expense he carried on excavations in the Björkö soil. These soon attracted the attention of friends of archeological research, and with the aid of national stipends Stolpe continued the work from 1871 to 1879 and in 1881.
In these studies Dr Stolpe was assisted by his general acquaintance with zoology, for as a considerable part of the finds consisted of bones of various animals, both wild and domestic, and worked and unworked, much knowledge and perseverance were required in identifying them. Dr Stolpe made a thorough investigation of the large grave-fields on the northern half of Björkö, which he mapped in 1888-89.
These researches are regarded as models of their kind, but Dr Stolpe published only brief accounts of the results. His collections and notes, however, are preserved in the Historical Museum, and it
1 Condensed from the memoir by Dr Gustaf Retzius in Ymer, Häft 1, Stockholm,
is hoped that eventually a more detailed account of his discoveries may be made public.
Early in the seventies Dr Stolpe had definitely decided on his future career. In 1872 he visited the museums of Copenhagen, and thenceforward one of the foremost objects of his life was to create a museum of ethnography in his native country. In this, however, he was destined to encounter many difficulties. In 1873 he was appointed as lecturer on Northern archeology at the University of Lund, and in that and the following year he coöperated with Hans Hildebrand, Oscar Montelius, and Gustaf Retzius in the formation of the present Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography. During this decade Stolpe took an important part in science in Sweden. It was mainly through his initiative that the Society arranged for the general ethnographical exposition in Stockholm, in 1878-79, for which space was provided in the palace of the heir presumptive. He collected for this exhibition a large number of ethnographic objects from Swedish public and private collections, devoting much time to their determination and arrangement, and prepared a comparative catalogue which was published in the Society's periodical. In 1880-'81 Stolpe visited the principal ethnographic museums and private collections in Europe, and in 1883 he rejoiced at receiving a commission as ethnologist to accompany the frigate Vanadis on a voyage round the world to secure material for his cherished hope-a Swedish ethnographical museum. From this expedition, which extended over a period of two years, he brought home more than 7,500 specimens, in part from South America where he made excavations at Ancon in Peru, in part from the South Pacific where he investigated the grave-fields of Tahiti and Oahu, and partly from Japan and the East Indies. On his return to Sweden he arranged an exhibition of these collections, which became known as the "Vanadis exhibition," first in Stockholm in 1886, and in the following year in Gothenburg. These collections were incorporated afterward with the other ethnographic collections that had been arranged through him, the whole being opened to the public in the Royal Museum in 1889.
Simultaneously with his ethnographical studies Stolpe was constantly engaged in archeological research, especially in connection
with his duties in the Historical Museum. On the conclusion of the researches at Björkö he was commissioned to investigate the gravefields in Vendel, Uppland, where some of the most remarkable finds of the Iron age in Sweden had been discovered. Needless to say,
this work was carried on with the same care and minuteness that characterized his operations at Björkö. The examination of the caves on the island of Stora Karlsön at Gottland also fell to him and was prosecuted for a long time. It is to be regretted that Stolpe did not find the opportunity to publish more exhaustive descriptions. By nature he was extremely punctilious and critical in the preparation of his writings, desiring them to reach perfection both in form and in content before publication. A series of works of monumental character, both in Swedish archeology and in general ethnology, might have been built upon his researches, but partly through force of adverse circumstance and partly on account of his deep conscientiousness, he was not successful in concluding them before his untimely death.
Stolpe's inclinations and occupations were involved in a long struggle between archeology and ethnography. He had a warm interest in both, through it was apparent that ethnography was the dearer to him. When, therefore, he was commissioned by the Academy of Science to superintend the ethnographical department of the Royal Museum from January 1, 1900, the fondest wish of his life was realized. To administer successfully the duties created by this assignment was, however, no easy task. Although he had made extended observations on the arrangement of foreign museums, had unlimited interest in his work, great practical experience and efficiency, and a highly-developed artistic sense, the external conditions were unfavorable. The ethnographic collections of the Royal Museum were contained in widely separated, rented quarters, in some respects most unsuitable and inadequate, and the means at his disposal for their maintenance and growth were so limited that success seemed impossible. But, thanks to his talent and perseverance, he succeeded in a few years in rearranging the collections on a geographic basis and in so carefully classifying and cataloguing them that the Museum is now as efficient and attractive as it is possible to make it in its present quarters. The collections were rapidly in