Prof. Henry Otley Beyer

1883-1966 

ABOVE:  A magazine from 1965 celebrating the H. Otley Beyer Symposium, which was held at the University of the Philippines to mark his achievements.


Henry Otley Beyer was born in Iowa, America in 1883. His passion for Anthropology first brought him to the Philippines in 1905. Beyer married an Ifugoa Filipina in 1910.

Henry Otley Beyer first encountered tektites in late 1926 in Novaliches (Quezon City, Metro Manila) in the course of conducting an archaeological survey of the area. He was the to first described Philippine tektites, which he named Rizalites, in 1928. He carried on his work, alongside his archaeological and anthropological studies, culminating in a large two volume monograph entitled 'Philippine Tektites' in 1962, which included most of his past papers. Beyers work was disrupted in second world war with many tektites and his papers being destroyed.

ABOVE: Dr. Beyer stands beside his showcases filled with tektite, artifact and library collection.

Amonst others, Beyer appeared to have good relations with George Baker (Australian tektites) and the distinguished Gustav Heinrich Ralph von Koenigswald (Javan tektites and Java-man).

ABOVE:  Two papers by George Baker, signed by Henry Otley Beyer.

Beyer's tektite collection was reportedly the largest in the world, reaching to more than half a million pieces. It also contained the largest tektite in the world (at that time) and still the largest Philippinite at 1069g - it's whereabouts are currently not known to the author. Beyer attached a high level of importance to tektites, believing that they came from outer space.

ABOVE:  Is this the largest Philippinite ever found?

Beyer lived to an age of 83, passing away in 1966. His literary collection was acquired by the National Library of Australia in Canberra in 1971. His tektite collection appears to have been sold off in parts to collectors. A small collection of tektites from Beyer also resides in the National Museum of the Philippines.

 

ABOVE:  Dr. H. Otley Beyer stands beside some of his collection of stone implements and tektites from various Philippine archaeological sites.

 

Further articles on Henry Otley Beyer can be found at:

http://www.nla.gov.au/nla/staffpaper/agosling3.html

http://nla.gov.au/nla.ms-ms4877