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Need Help Identifying This Micronesian Artifact/Weapon

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posted on Jul, 3 2010 @ 08:08 AM
Hey All,

I picked this up in a second hand shop today and it's got me puzzled.

The writing says *Port Vila* *1979*
Port Vila is the capital of Vanuatu, in Micronesia.
The writing side is quite faded compared with the "face" side, so I'm guessing it's spent a bit of time lying on the ground or being exposed to weather.

Trying to find a contact in Port Vila isn't very easy. So I thought I'd call on you guys. I'm trying to make some contacts over in Vanuatu as well, but when dealing with island time, it can take awhile.

Dimensions: 1300mm length X 90mm width. Quite thick, about 80mm. I would compare it to a cricket bat, only with both sides triangular in shape instead of just one side. Edges are quite sharp, even now. Certainly a hurty thing if hit with it. Conical end would be devastating if hit in nerve or muscle with.

Any thoughts?


[edit on 3/7/10 by shamus78]

posted on Jul, 3 2010 @ 08:52 AM
It looks like a wooden sword.

From the condition, it appears to mainly have been a decorative piece, but it is hefty enough to be a weapon.

The 'blade' looks like it was based on a roman sword, but the piece appear to have been designed so that it could be used as a weapon.

With the sharp edges and and conical pommel, this would certainly be a devastatingly effective wooden weapon.

posted on Jul, 3 2010 @ 08:53 AM
Explanation: S&F!


Among the Micronesians, the Gilbertese (I-Kiribati) seems to have been the most warlike; at least they have the nastiest weapons - long, lacerating spears and swords, set with rows of shark's teeth which must have torn the combatants cruelly, except for those who wore a full suit of thick, closely plaited sinnet armour, which is peculiar to these islands. In single combat, each armour-clad warrior was supported by an attendance, whose duty it was to ward off the opponent's blows.


Cook himself penned a description of the Hawaiian dagger: “They have a sort of weapon which we had never seen before, and not mentioned by any navigator, as used by the natives of the South Sea. It was somewhat like a dagger; in general, about a foot and a half long, sharpened at one or both ends, and secured to the hand by a string. Its use is to stab in close fight; and it seems well adapted to the purpose. Some of these may be called double daggers, having a handle in the middle with which they are better enabled to strike both ways.”

At least five types of daggers were documented by Westerners shortly after their arrival. A heavy truncheon dagger was fashioned with a hole in the handle so a loop made of olona fiber could be attached. Others were bludgeon daggers, long-bladed daggers, shark-tooth daggers, and curved-bladed daggers.

Personal Disclosure: I'd most likely call it a bokken of somekind.

Wooden Practice Swords []

Edited link fail.

[edit on 3-7-2010 by OmegaLogos]

posted on Jul, 3 2010 @ 09:08 AM
reply to post by OmegaLogos

Thanks so much for the leads - and my mistake - it was Melanesia, not Micronesia. Absolutely terrifying to think of being attacked by a couple of guys with such weapons.

Exuberant1 - Yup, this thing hurts alot when jabbed with the conical end Hey, I had to try it on my leg. Just a small jab basically gives you a dead leg. Won't be doing that again! With a light tap it has an ability to dig quite deeply into the muscle, while not breaking the skin, although I won't be trying it a second time. A full on hit would take me out immediately, probably causing massive nerve and muscle damage. It is also wonderfully balanced. Agree, most probably decorative though.

A friend also mentioned seeing the type of carving on scrimshaws, but haven't found a match for the geometric style seen on this.

[edit on 3/7/10 by shamus78]

posted on Jul, 3 2010 @ 09:55 AM
I was gonna wittily quip it was a letter opener until I saw the length of it...


along the same idea it looks to me like something a high school student has knocked up in woodwork class and then doodled all over it

posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 02:04 PM
Looks like it was made for tourists.

I visited Vanuatu back in the 90's we were amused to see everyone carrying a machete (known locally as a bush knife), from grannies to toddlers barely big enough to lift them. When coconuts are a main crop, they're essential. When I explained to our guide that you wouldn't be allowed to carry one at home he was baffled - he had never heard of one being used as a weapon, and was horrified by the thought.

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