Kaiingas - Settlements



Most of the villages, which range from five to fifty households, contain a crowded cluster of huts and are often located for defense on fairly inaccessible lower ridges and usually marked by groves of coconut trees. The larger villages typically contain a central plaza where public rituals of birth and death and other events are celebrated. All houses are raised above the ground on posts, with steps or a ladder leading up to a single entrance. The majority of the houses are square, single-room dwellings, though some of the older houses were octagonal. The walls are commonly made of split and plaited bamboo. Roofs are pitched, made of strong reeds, and thatched with thick grass. Split bamboo mats resting on a grating of small beams make up the floors. Each dwelling has a fire pit that consists of a square box about a meter wide and a couple of hands high filled with sand and accumulated ash and located toward the back of the room. This is the hearth around which all the activities of the household revolve, including the cooking of the daily meals. Above it is a rack for drying food, wood, and wearing apparel.


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