Maring - Settlements

The Maring settlement pattern has been described as "pulsating," with house clusters and homesteads scattered throughout a clan cluster's territory most of the time but undergoing a sort of nucleation at certain times in the ritual cycle, when nearly everyone in a clan cluster is housed near the clan cluster's central dance ground. Populations tend to disperse as pig herds increase, then temporarily come together around a dance ground when ritual cooperation throughout the clan cluster is necessary. This gathering together rarely lasts for more than a year before the process of territorial dispersal begins again. During the "nucleated" settlement period, one finds residential compounds, consisting of matrilaterally related kin, clustered around the traditional dance ground of the clan cluster, with individual gardens on the adjacent land. A single compound will consist of a men's house, in which two to eleven men and postinitiation boys sleep and eat; and individual women's houses, located downhill from the men's house, in which live women, their young children and unmarried daughters, and, at times, other female kin in temporary need. Pigs are kept in individual stalls in the women's houses, each stall having its own entrance from the outside. All buildings are made of wood frames, thatched with pandanus leaves, and sometimes built on stilts. "Modern" homesteads no longer construct a separate men's house, but within the single dwelling shared by men and women the separation of male and female is still maintained. Near the dance ground a "magic house," where men of the clan cluster congregate, serves as an important public forum.

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