Until they moved to a new locale in the early 1960s, the Kuikuru had, for a century or so, occupied sites only a few hundred meters apart, near a medium-sized lake 13 kilometers west of the Rio Kuluene. Settlement close to a river or lake is considered essential in order to have access to water for cooking, bathing, fishing, and canoe travel. Kuikuru houses, which are built from an elliptical ground plan, look like large oval haystacks but have a solid pole framework with two center posts and a heavy ridgepole. Houses are thatched with sapé ( Imperata ) grass, the roof and walls forming a continuous curve. Each house has two small doorways, one facing the plaza, the other on the opposite side, facing the forest. The village plan is circular, with usually nine to eleven houses arranged around a central plaza. Houses average about 20 meters long, 11 meters wide, and 7 meters high. In the center of the plaza there is a men's house and near it a harpy-eagle cage, where an eagle is kept for its feathers.