Ajië - Settlements

Ancient settlements were collections of round men's and women's huts, rectangular collective kitchens, oblong meetinghouses, and variously shaped ateliers. Each woman had a hut where she raised her small children. These structures were built alongside one large dwelling known as bweamwa in Ajië, which was the symbol of the clan. This large central dwelling, used by the chief and adult males, was erected on a raised mound with a central alleyway lined with coconut palms and tropical pines leading up to it and two smaller alleyways flanking it. The central alleyway served as a collective ceremonial ground for activities such as public speeches and yam redistribution while the smaller alleyways were used for more intimate rituals such as ceremonial exchanges of shell money. Around inland settlements were yam mounds and irrigated taro gardens on hillsides. It was this social space of family residences, agricultural lands, water channels, and hunting and gathering territories that formed the basis for ritual, economic, political, and social action in traditional times.

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