Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Head-Hunters Drove Papuan Tribe Into Tree-Houses

Date:
March 9, 1998
Source:
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research
Summary:
The forest-dwelling Korowai, a Papuan tribe in the southeast of Irian Jaya (the former Dutch New Guinea), were forced to adapt their lifestyle to cope with the danger posed by a tribe of neighbouring head-hunters, the Citak. They did this by building their houses at the tops of 40-metre high trees.

The forest-dwelling Korowai, a Papuan tribe in the southeast of Irian Jaya (the former Dutch New Guinea), were forced to adapt their lifestyle to cope with the danger posed by a tribe of neighbouring head-hunters, the Citak. They did this by building their houses at the tops of 40-metre high trees. A recent book about these tree-dwellers by two Dutch researchers, linguist Prof. Lourens J. de Vries and clergyman Gerrit J. van Enk, is the first published study of the Korowai.* It was a Dutch missionary, Johannes Veldhuizen, who made the initial contact with the tribe during the 1980s. Their language and lifestyle are now being studied as part of a special research programme under the auspices of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

Many of the tribes in the swampy areas of Irian Jaya build their houses on stilts because that means less trouble from crawling insects, scorpions and snakes. However, the Korowai build their homes much higher up, right up in the tree tops; they are accessible only by means of a springy climbing pole which can be pulled up if danger threatens. The pole is also attached to the house in such a way that the inhabitants can keep an eye on it from wherever they happen to be. All this means that intruders have little chance of making a successful attack. Family life takes place entirely within the tree house, which has separate areas for men and women, each with their own entrances.

The fear of cannibals is expressed in the language of the Korowai and in the related languages of other tribes in the region. It includes the word khakhua, which means something like 'male witch' . Khakhuas are demonic individuals with an inner urge which makes them become cannibals. They therefore have to be pursued, tried, tortured and finally eaten. This type of cannibalism, which the Korowai consider justified, is the only occurrence of this practice in their culture.

* The Korowai of Irian Jaya: Their Language in Its Cultural Context, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0 19 510551 6.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. "Head-Hunters Drove Papuan Tribe Into Tree-Houses." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980309043026.htm>.
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. (1998, March 9). Head-Hunters Drove Papuan Tribe Into Tree-Houses. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980309043026.htm
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. "Head-Hunters Drove Papuan Tribe Into Tree-Houses." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980309043026.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins