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Archbold Expedition to New Guinea (7th : 1964)



  • Existence: 1964    



The Seventh Archbold Expedition to New Guinea (1964) was a collecting mission led by Hobart M. Van Deusen to largely unexplored areas of the Huon Peninsula and Morobe Provence in eastern New Guinea. The expedition was sponsored by Richard Archbold and funded by grants provided by the National Science Foundation and the Explorers Club (3, p. 46). The group arrived in Lae (a coastal city in eastern New Guinea) in April and created several inland camps for specimen, audio and visual collection, including locations at Pindiu Patrol Post, along the Mongi River and throughout the Saruwaged Mountains. Although there had been several Museum-sponsored trips to inland New Guinea, almost no research or specimen collection had yet been completed in the locale due to the isolated nature of the mountain ranges and valleys in the Huon Peninsula region. The expedition ended September of the same year, with the last members of the expedition leaving from Lae in early October (1, p.2-3).

1964 April 5-12
MacGowan, Grierson and Hoogland arrive in Lae and unpack expedition cargo.
1964 April 13
Van Deusen arrives in Lae, and initial Pindiu Patrol Post is chosen as base of operations.
1964 April 16
Van Deusen, D. N. Ashton and Hoogland fly to Pindiu Patrol Post along the Mongi River with 800 pounds of cargo.
1964 April 20-21
Remainder of cargo and personnel flown to Pindiu Patrol Post.
1964 April 22
Specimen collection begins immediately, with snakes and bats being among the first species to be caught. Photographs and sound recordings of animals in the area are documented by Grierson.
1964 April
First bush camp is established several miles south of Pindiu Patrol Post.
1964 May
MacGowan organizes a group of local men to act as 'carriers' for the specimens and cargo between the base camp and various bush camps.
1964 May 2
Expedition group and carriers follow trails along the river to search for additional inland bush camps closer to Rawlinson Range.
1964 May 2-23
Masba Creek Camp is found and established in a wooded area between the Mongi and Kua Rivers. The camp remains in operation till May 23rd. Extensive specimen retrieval and geographic study continues.
1964 May 23-29
Masba Creek Camp is abandoned, and the expedition team returns to Pindiu Patrol post. Cargo is replenished from Lae and reorganized to function for next leg of inland trip into the Rawlinson Range.
1964 June 2
Expedition continues moving inland and upland toward Rawlinson Range, moving from 470m to 1480m elevation in 2 days. They continue collecting, finding similar specimens to those collected in the same region by Ernst Mayr in 1929. In addition, the group meets with local tribes and stays in Zanagren village.
1964 June-July 2
Gang Creek Camp is established along the side of Mt. Rawlinson. Extensive herpetological and botanical specimens and recordings are collected.
1964 June 19
Group is visited by members of various villages along the north side of Mt. Rawlinson.
1964 June 21
Richard Zwiefel joins expedition for 9 days, collecting specimens and then returning to Lae.
1964 July 2
Gang Creek Camp is abandoned, and group continues up the side of Mt. Rawlinson till camp is established at 2270m. Group searches area and hikes to Rawlinson summit several times before camp is abandoned.
1964 July 2-6
Group spends several days back in Zangaren village, documenting culture of local peoples.
1964 July 6-12
Expedition team splits into smaller groups and slowly heads back to base camp at Pindiu Patrol Post.
1964 July 12-29
Van Deusen, Hoogland, MacGowan and team head towards the Cromwell Mountains, eventually setting up the Plains of Ulur Camp at the beginning of the Mongi River at 2380m.
1964 August
Group stays at Plains of Ulur Camp for the month. Collection of bats, moths and other hunted animals begins. Several expedition members climb the nearby Mt. Ulur, reaching the peak at 2856m.
1964 August 30-September 2
Expedition moves back towards Pindiu Patrol Post, collecting and trading with villagers along the way.
1964 September 2-8
Team waits at Pindiu Patrol Post for flight, which is delayed due to inclement weather. Crew collects many spiders and other local invertebrates.
1964 September 11-25
Crew takes a vessel to coastal Papua New Guinea, where they collect bats from inland caves.
1964 September 26
Group returns to Lae where cargo and specimens are waiting.
1964 October
Group leaves Papua New Guinea by boat, ending the expedition. Some members move on to Australia while Van Deusen returns to New York with specimens for AMNH.

Biographical Note

Emerging technologies and new methods of travel used in previous Archbold Expeditions allowed for the 7th Expedition to travel throughout inland New Guinea, reaching valleys previously unresearched by AMNH scientists. This provided new specimens for collection including “mammals and plants, but other kinds of materials were also gathered, most notably in the areas of herpetology and entomology” (1, p. 1). Among several of the collecting strategies, “one object of the expedition was to determine what species of mammals, present in the central ranges, had failed to cross this valley gap. A corollary object of this collecting trip was to obtain material from the Huon for comparison with the mammal species obtained in the central ranges in 1959” (1, p. 2-3). New Guinea is the largest tropical island in the world, and although there had been a great deal of research done by previous expeditions, there had yet to be a comprehensive study of mammals in the Huon Peninsula (2, p. 451). The animals within the Huon Peninsula were some of the most isolated in the world. New Guinea separated from Asia several million years ago, which led “to striking patterns of plant and animal distribution” which AMNH researchers hoped to document (2, p. 449). The Expedition began in April in Lae, administrative center of Morobe Province at the time. Pindiu Patrol Post was chosen as the base of inland operations, and by the end of April AMNH researchers Hobart M. Van Deusen, S. B. McDowell, Ruurd D. Hoogland, Stanley O. Grierson, and several native assistants had already begun collecting bat and snake specimens along with audio recordings of the surrounding area (5, p. 1-2). By early May the team established several inland bush camps, and by mid-May Masba Creek Camp was found and established in a wooded area between the Mongi and Kua Rivers. The camp remained in operation till May 23rd, and extensive specimen retrieval and geographic study continued in the surrounding area (1, p. 5-6). Throughout June the expedition team moved into the Mount Rawlinson area, founding the Gang Creek Camp. The camp, located over 1400 meters above sea level, allowed for extensive herpetological and botanical specimen collection, as well as additional audio recordings (1, p. 6). The Rawlinson Range was also home to a host of rarely documented New Guinea tribes, with whom the members of the expedition team stayed with throughout their stay at Gang Creek Camp (2, p. 451). By the end of June Dr. Richard Zwiefel had joined the expedition, and he would stay with the team collecting specimens along the Rawlinson Range for nine days, then continue with his own field research for an additional nine weeks. Zwiefel collected “approximately 900 specimens, evenly divided between amphibians and reptiles” (4, p. 39). The Archbold Expedition spent July and August traveling through the Cromwell Mountain Range, splitting into smaller groups and establishing temporary camps along the Mongi River. Several members of the group climbed Mt. Ulur, reaching elevations over 2800m. Other group members maintained the Plains of Ulur bush camp, where they collected bats, moths, and other hunted animals (2, p. 450-453). By September the expedition team completed their research inland and moved to the coastal region of the Huon Peninsula, collecting bat species in caves along the Solomon Sea. Eventually the team returned to Lae, where the group and specimens left New Guinea by the end of October (1, p. 7). By the end of the 7th Archbold Expedition, the team had a collection which included “about 1200 botanical numbers, about 3000 insects and the following vertebrates: 53 fishes; 497 frogs, 286 lizards, 76 snakes (total 859 herpetological specimens); 101 birds; six monotremes (Zaglossus), 311 bats, 929 marsupials, 484 rodents (total 1730 mammals)” (1, p. 3). The specimens were given to AMNH and used for published scholarship by several members of the expedition team, as well as other researchers on the AMNH staff.

SOURCES (1) Van Deusen, Hobart M. 1978. Results of the Archbold Expeditions. No. 101. Summary of the Seventh Archbold Expedition to New Guinea (1964). New York: American Museum of Natural History.

(2) Van Deusen, Hobart M. "The Seventh Archbold Expedition". BioScience 16, no. 7 (1966): 449-455.

(3) White, Alexander M. 1963-1964. The American Museum of Natural History: Ninety-Fifth Annual Report. New York: American Museum of Natural History.

(4) White, Alexander M. 1964-1965. The American Museum of Natural History: Ninety-Sixth Annual Report. New York: American Museum of Natural History.

(5) McDowell, Samuel Booker. 1984. The snakes of the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. American Museum Novitates, no. 2775. New York: American Museum of Natural History.


  • Morobe (Other) -- Date: 1964 April - 1964 September
    • Note: Expedition site
  • Lae (Other) -- Date: 1964 April
    • Note: Expedition site
  • Huon Peninsula (Other) -- Date: 1964 April - 1964 October
    • Note: Expedition site
  • Bangeta, Mount (Other) -- Date: 1964 August - 1964 September
    • Note: Expedition site
  • Mongi (Other) -- Date: 1964 April - 1964 May
    • Note: Expedition site
  • Solomon Sea (Other) -- Date: 1964 September
    • Note: Expedition site


Found in 1 Collection or Record:

The Archbold Collections at the American Museum of Natural History, 1928-1980.

Identifier: Archive Mammalogy Archbold
Scope and Contents The Archbold Collections at the American Museum of Natural History is comprised of material that documents the expeditionary fieldwork of Richard Archbold and the Archbold Expeditions. It is housed within the AMNH Department of Mammalogy Archive, and encompasses a variety of formats, including photographs, slides, film, scrapbooks, correspondence, financial records, and field documentation such as catalogs, specimen lists, field notes and journals. These describe both the day-to-day...
Dates: 1928 - 1980; Majority of material found within 1930 - 1964