Melpa - Settlements

The indigenous form of settlement is the hamlet or extended family homestead situated close to gardening areas within a clan territory. Pathways lead from one settlement to another. Some settlements have a ceremonial ground associated with them. This is particularly likely to be so if one of the residents is a political leader (a big-man). There are two kinds of houses: men's houses, usually round and occupied by men and boys from the time they are 8 or 9 years old; and women's houses, long and sometimes with a special compartment for pig stalls, in which the women and their unmarried daughters live. Houses are made from posts, bark, woven cane, and thatching grass. Missions introduced "line villages" with Family houses instead of separate men's and women's houses. These innovations have had variable success. Houses Nowadays tend to be built near roads, introduced since colonial times.

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