Guadalcanal - Settlements



Kaoka speakers occupy five autonomous villages, four of which are located on the coast; the fifth is a few miles inland. Each village is made up of a number of hamlets consisting of a cluster of four to ten households, each with its own dwelling and associated gardens, and in traditional times there would also be three shrines, each dedicated to spirit beings. There is only one building style, regardless of the purpose of the Structure: a high-peaked, windowless, thatched-roof affair, with walls made of split saplings lashed together with strong vines and anchored to solid upright beams. Small stones and larger shingle from the beach are spread to make the flooring. Doorways are elevated from ground level, to keep village pigs from gaining entry. Each shrine is decorated with the skulls of ancestors and a carved palisade of representations of spirits is set before the entrance. Because of the local climate and the nature of building materials, a structure is unlikely to last more than five years before having to be rebuilt.

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