Ata Sikka - Settlements

Villages of the central saddle of the district are located along peaks of ridges or on other high points; others stretch along roads or parallel the coast. Houses are arranged in rows, usually along either side of a road or major footpath, with traditional village centers marked by one or more large offering stones ( mahé ). Paul Arndt (1933) reports elaborately carved village houses ( woga ) containing ceremonial objects (gongs, drums, shields), which were reserved exclusively for men and used as the place of male circumcision in most non-Christian villages. Such ceremonial structures are no longer found in central Sikka. Arndt speculates that formerly villages were divided into clan quarters or neighborhoods. Each clan within a village designated one house as its clan house. Houses of traditional construction are rectangular and raised on posts a meter or more above the ground. In western Sikka, houses consist of two parts: a gallery ( tédang ) and an inner room ( uné ), with further subdivisions within each part. Such houses increasingly have been replaced by houses constructed directly on packed earth or concrete foundations. Many houses and their courtyards are encircled by low stone walls. During the agricultural season farmers erect makeshift garden huts in distant fields.

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