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Tabu. At the latter place, Mr. Wssrnauovr has opened a mine, of i
the first produce of which I possess a very favorable specimen. There is in fact but little doubt that the mines in the vicinity of Malacca, if scientifically worked by persons of some little capital and perseverance, would prove of much intrinsic value ; and otherwise benefit the country, by attracting into it an enterprising and industrious population.
The want of capital, and consequent haste to convert the produce into cash, is the great drawback, not only to mining speculations, but to the cultivation of pepper, and other spices, requiring still more time before yielding any return to the cultivator.
Colonel FARQUHAR. might perhaps have been a little too enthusiastic in aifirming, that “ nature has been profusely bountiful to the Malay peninsula, in bestowing on it a climate the most agreeable and salubrious, a soil luxuriantly fertilized by numerous rivers, and the face of the country diversified with hills and valleys, mountains and plains, forming the most beautiful and interesting scenery that is possible for the imagination to figure,” &c. &c. But nothing could be truer and better founded than his observation, viz. " We have only to lament that a more enterprising and industrious race of inhabitants than the Malays should not have possessed this delightful region."
II.-—Des0ription of Heavandoo Pholo, the Northern Atoll of the Maldive Islands. By Lieut. T. POWELL, I. N. Assistant Surveyor. Plate XVIII.
Gnooanrnrcu. sun. The Atoll Heavandoo Pholo, or head of the Maldives, situated upon the meridian of Bombay, and between the parallels of 7° 7' and 6° 55', north latitude, consists of twenty-two islands, two islets, and two sand-banks, besides several small shoals and two large barrier reefs; the latter form the boundary of the Atoll to the S. W., W., and N. W., and along the outer age are dry at low-water spring-tides: outside they are steep, having 50 and 60 fathoms close to them, and no ground at 150 fathoms, at the distance of 300 yards.
The northern or principal barrier has 10 islands, and two small islets on it : one of the latter, on its southern extremity, being close to Heavandoo : these are all situated on'the inner side of the reef, having three or four, and in some places six fathoms water between them and its outer edge, with small. channels for boats between each, formed by the natives having cleared away the coral rocks. Nearly in the centre of the Atoll there are three small islands; the eastern side is clear of
shoals, with the exception of two small patches between Gullandoo and Mooradoo; but on the western, there are several nearly dry, and some sunken patches, having from 3 to ID fathoms on them. The soundings vary from 20 to 34 fathoms, the latter being the greatest depth of water obtained.
POPULATION. Of the twenty-two islands composing this Atoll, there
are only seven inhabited, viz. Heavandoo, Koorafooree, Katefooree,
Turracoon, Colligaum, Beeramerdoo, and Mooradoo. In the margin* I have noted the number of inhabitants and boats upon each, by which it will be seen, that the population, including men, women, and children,’ does not exceed 760 individuals. The boats are all employed in fishing : the trade between this Atoll and Tilla Dow Madow, whence they are supplied with such articles as they require, being carried on in those of the latter.
The islands are so similar in form and natural productions, that it would be a waste of time to describe them separately. I shall therefore give a sketch of Heavandoo, the island of greatest importance in this group ; not so much on account of its size, as from its being the residence of the Sult:in’s Vizier when he visits the Atoll. It is of a triangular form, about one mile in length, and is composed of coral, elevated about I2 feet above the level of the sea. The western side is thickly covered with cocoanut and bread-fruit trees ; and the northern and eastern, with thick brush wood : the interior, which is 3 or 4 feet lower than the sides, has been cleared by the inhabitants for the purpose of cultivating a small grain called Bimbi. The supply, however, which with the exception of a few sweet potatoes, pumpions, and limes, forming the only vegetable production of the island, is not snflicient for their support. The village, consisting of about 50 huts and 150 inhabitants, stands on the S. W. side. The huts, surrounded by spacious inclosures, are in general constructed of a frame-work of the wood of the cocoanut tree, the interstices filled up with leaves stitched together, and the roof neatly thatched with the same material. In the vicinity there are good paths intersecting the island in diiferent directions, which, being kept remarkably clean by the women, form pleasant walks, shaded from the sun by the thick foliage of the cocoanut and other trees. Like the natives of the other Atolls they gain their livelihood by fishing. Cocoanuts, and the fish called by them Goom-lemus (Boneta), which are caught in great quantities, form their principal food : rice, being imported, is very scarce, and only procurable by the better class of inhabitants. Fresh water is plentiful, wells having been dug in almost every quarter of the island ; but the best is procured from those situated in the burying ground. Fowls are abundant on all the islands, but not easily procured, being remarkably wild and difiicult to catch, and the natives too indolent to take the trouble necessary to secure them. Money, for which they have little use, will not fetch its full value; rice, tobacco, and betel-nuts being the best medium of barter. waxrnnpa.
* Island. Population. N0. qf Boats. Heavandoo, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 6
Koorafooree, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160 5
Katefooree, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 3
Turracoon, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 2
Colligaum, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . - .. 150 4
Beeramerdoo, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 2
October. The winds moderate and variable from W. S. W. to N. with cool, pleasant weather, and occasional hard squalls, accompanied by heavy showers of rain.
November. Light breezes from N. N. E. to N. N. W., and occasional squalls from the eastward, until the 22nd, when dark, cloudy tempestuous weather and incessant rain set in from the W. N. W. On the 27th, it cleared up, and continued fine for the remainder of the month.
December. Moderate breezes generally from E. N. E., with pleasant clear weather, occasionally from E. S. E., with squalls and rain.
During these three months, the mean temperature of the atmosphere ranged from 80° to 84°, frequently decreasing in the squalls to 78°.
The tides are extremely irregular, and at all times influenced by the prevailing winds and currents.
During the strong westerly breezes, the flood set to the eastward, and continued to run for the greater part of the day ; but when they moderated, the ebb, in like manner, set to the westward, the water falling 6 or 7 inches lower than I had ever seen it before even on the springs.
In moderate weather, when the tides flow with somewhat greater regularity, the ebb always runs an hour and a half longer than the flood.
The rise and fall of water is then about five feet, and the velocity about a. mile and a half per hour.
In October, November, and December, the current to the westward of the Atoll set to the southward, at the rate of 36 miles per day: the natives say, that it commences about the middle of September, and continues to the end of December, when the easterly winds set in,
then turns to the westward, and runs in that direction until April. s a
Of this group. I conceive Heawandoo Island is better adapted than any other for a coal depot : it lies nearly in a direct line between Point de Galle and Socotra, at about one-third of the whole distance from the former place, is easy of access in every direction, and possesses safe anchorages for ships and steamers in all seasons. During the S. W. monsoon, avessel could anchor on the east side of the island between it and a small reef, dry at low-water; in the N. E. monsoon, the best anchorage is in the channel between the i=land and the south barrier reef in 16 or 17 fathoms, sand and rocks. Opposite both these anchorages, there are good landing places for boats, which are procurable in snflicient numbers, and may easily be made available for the landing or shipment of coals, &c. The natives, who are civil and peaceable, might I think, be induced to work for a small hire, such as rice, tobacco, &c. or any other remuneration they might consider adequate.
In approaching Heawandoo Pholo Atoll, from the eastward, a vessel ought to sight Kilah, the northernmost Island of the Tilla D00 Matte Atoll, and then steer across the channel to H eawandoo Island, passing close to Gnllandoo, to avoid the small patches between it and Moor
III.—E.zamination of a Mummy Head, supposed to be brought from Egypt by Lieut. Ancnnoma. By Dr. Gnonoa Evans.
[In a letter to the Secy., read before the Asiatic Society, July 1, 1835.]
[The mummy preparations, to which the following note refers, were presented at the meeting of the Asiatic Society, the 3rd Sept. 1834. There were two wrappers, supposed to contain the sacred Ibis: one of these was opened in the pre. sence of Drs. GRANT, Pnanson, Bnsmnav, and Evans. The head, being in a decayed state, was, after taking a sketch, to shew the mode of dressing the hair, given to Dr. Evans, who himself kindly undertook to clean it as an osteological specimen for the Society’s museum.——Eo.]
In returning these relics of antiquity, I have again to offer an apology for having detained them so long in my possession; they are at length put up as preparations, and as such will, no doubt, remain many years in a good state of preservation.
In my examination of the smaller, I have so far succeeded as to shew satisfactorily that four birds are embodied in the mass we supposed to be the mummy of the sacred Ibis. With the aid of the marks I have made, you will be able to distinguish eight distinct feet, with their toes and claws, severally attached; also three heads: the fourth, Itake for granted, is there also, and seated below the parts already exposed, but the crumbling and decayed state of the mummy renders
its display somewhat diflicult, and any attempt to bring it into view would, I fear, endanger the spoiling of the preparation. I therefore thought it best to leave it unexplored. Wliat description of birds they are, it is diflicult to say; the form of the heads and mandibles would lead me to pronounce them Plovers, but for the toe at the back of the foot, which is altogether wanting in the genus Charadrius; it is therefore not improbable they belong either to the Rail or Tringa family. Whatever theyare, it is evident they must have been enclosed when very young, and barely fledged; for I can detect no quill feathers or traces of any having been attached to the wings, although the smaller feathers are closely matted together, and distinct enough. What further tends to confirm this opinion is, the great disproportion of the bones of the wings to those of the legs and other parts of the body —a discrepancy common to all young birds before they attain the power of flight. I am consequently disposed to consider them as nestlings, and think it not unlikely that a-variety of birds, besides the Ibis Religiosa, might have been deified by the ancient Egyptians.
In detaching the birds from the enveloping bituminous matter, I met with a seed of the common castor oil plant, apparently in a good state of preservation. As it is a curious circumstance, I have enclosed it in a small phial along with the fragments of Beetles you sent for my inspection: these latter appear to be portions of a small kind of common locusts ,- elytra of some kind of Buprestis, and pieces of a species of carabus ,- but in their mutilated condition it is impossible to identify any of them with existing specimens.
The head is that of a female, rather below the ordinary stature of women, and I should say about 20 or 22 years of age,judging from the best criterion, the teeth, and the little attrition they seem generally to have undergone. The dentes sapientiae in both jaws are only partially advanced, which with the profusion and colour of the hair, and the tiara kind of form it is drest in, I think are sufficiently indicative of youthfulness. The lineaments of the face must have been small, compressed laterally, and much sunken below the eyes, for the sinuosities beneath the orbits are remarkably deep, and the malar bones very angular and projecting. The forehead is low, and though straight for its extent is by no means ample, giving a facial angle of about 78“, indicating no extraordinary development of the intellectual and reflecting faculties, and an approach to what Camper would call the minimum of comeliness ; but the angle is evidently diminished by the great protrusion of the upper maxilla, from the nasal spine» of which the measurement is made in taking the facial line. *