S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Collins, Major Ernest Rokeby (archaeology)

Born: 12 October 1870, Lyme Regis, Dorset, United Kingdom.
Died: 1935, Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

Ernest Rokeby Collins, British soldier, was the son of Brigade Surgeon Francis Collins. He joined the East Lancashire Regiment in November 1892 and was promoted to lieutenant in July 1894 and to captain in June 1900. From December that year he served in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) with the Mounted Infantry, taking part in operations in the Transvaal, the Free State, and the Cape Colony. He was mentioned in dispatches, was awarded the Queen's Medal (3 clasps) and King's Medal (3 clasps), and in September 1901 was created a companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

During his war duties Collins collected stone tools, either from the surface or while digging trenches, at numerous sites in the Free State, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and North-West Province. In 1915 he published an article, "Stone implements from South African gravels", with Reginald A. Smith of the British Museum as co-author, in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (Vol. 45, pp. 79-91). The article contained information on river gravels and other deposits in which artefacts occur, as well as descriptions of artefacts of the Stellenbosch type, the Middle Stone Age, and the Smithfield type, from various places in South Africa. Artefacts collected by Collins were acquired by the British Museum (Natural History) in 1919.

Collins was promoted to Major in May 1913. He served in World War I (1914-1918), but was taken prisoner by the Germans in 1915. He became a member of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia in 1919 and subsequently published three papers in its Proceedings describing his finds of palaeolithic stone artefacts in Yorkshire (1922, 1930,1933). He was married to Margaret Alice Sotheron-Estcourt.


List of sources:

AngloBoer War.com: Collins, Ernest Rokeby, at http://www.angloboerwar.com/component/grid/?gid=22_uw_0&p=10

Cohen, A.B. Notes on southern African stone tool collectors represented in the collections of the British Museum (Natural History). Unpublished, 2001.

Creagh, O'M. and Humphris, E.M. The Distinguished Service Order, 1886-1923. London: J.B. Hayward, 1978.

Goodwin, A.J.H. A commentary upon South African prehistory up to the introduction of the new terminology. Bantu Studies, 1935, Vol. 9, pp. 291-333; bibliography pp. 387-413.

Google scholar. http://scholar.google.co.za Publications by E.R. Collins.

Mitchell, P.J. The South African Stone Age in the collections of the British Museum: Content, history and significance. South African Archaeological Bulletin, 1998, Vol. 53, pp. 26-36.


Compiled by: C. Plug


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