Kwoma - Settlements



Traditionally, the population was divided among a number of large but discrete settlement groups composed of numerous hamlets separated by gardens and stretches of forest. In the Washkuk Hills all settlements were located on hilltops. At the center of each hamlet was one or more huge ceremonial buildings (in pidgin, haus tambaran), which were used as men's clubhouses and as the venues for rituals. Dwellings were scattered in a rough circle around the periphery of the hamlet. Following pacification around 1945, settlements in the Washkuk Hills were relocated to sites next to or near waterways. Several of these settlements simultaneously divided into two or more distinct villages. Contemporary villages are more consolidated than formerly and are composed of wards occupied by members of individual clans; most of them have one or more centrally situated ceremonial buildings. In Common with those of other "hill" cultures in the same region, houses formerly were built directly on the ground. Today houses (but not kitchens) tend to be raised on piles. During the day, when they are not working out of the village, people sit outside (or underneath) their houses; this facilitates friendly interaction with neighbors and passersby, the importance of which Kwoma emphasize.

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