Thursday, 3 September 2009

6th May 2009 - Orkney Headhunter

Today I was looking out former enquiries on John Renton for a Museum of Scotland employee.

John Renton was a 21 year old Stromnessian when he was stranded in the South Seas in 1868. His boat washed ashore on Malaita, one of the Solomon Islands which was inhabited by a tribe of head hunters. The islanders made John very welcome, teaching him how to live in their environment and learning skills from him such as net-making.

Eight years later John returned to Stromness. He brought with him a spear and a necklace of 59 human teeth. It is thought that he became a head hunter himself whilst an islander, attacking members of rival tribes and collecting trophies from his victims.

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