A few years ago, a geological expedition into the Taalbergen of Western New Guinea (Lyell, Cuvier and Wegener (2001), henceforth LCW), previously thought to be uninhabited, found that the massif is indeed inhabited by a wide variety of primitive tribes. Indeed, this is the only thing they found, as they fled the region in a panic after a still mysterious incident
As pointed out by both LCW and MLG, the primary reason for the late exploration of the area lies in the unfavourable meteorological conditions
The mode of subsistence significantly varies among different populations in the area. The Fon O’logist1 tribes, nearest to sea level, in a comparatively fertile longitudinal valley make their living from shifting cultivation, abandoning a “paradaim”, as they would call an arable patch of Land, as soon as the land is exhausted to the point where the “esimilejšn”, their major crop, does not yield fruit anymore, usually within less than ten years. Recently, a large percentage of the tribe has become trapped in the Optimee swamps, apparently unable to find their way out even though yields diminish every year.
A similar pattern is found among the largest tribe, the Sintak Tishen,2 who live in a similar habitat, though usually at slightly higher altitudes. However, this tribe also has a number of holy places where large groups assemble every year for certain rituals. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to attend these rituals, nor did we succeed in finding their sacred stones. [This is quite likely because they do not have sacred stones; they have sacred trees
Another remarkable group is the Lengwidž Filozofaz, mostly found in the highest altitudes. This tribe is well known for its transhuman type of subsistence, shifting seasonally between the high pastures (“Lodžik”) and low pastures (“Kom-
Just as the Taalbergen tribes are pariahs in the wider region, so are the Priskript Evists within the mountain range.3 Indeed, we might not have known of their existence had our expedition not been captured by a group of Priskript Evist warriors raiding the Lowlands when we were already on the way back home. As we are egotists valuing our own lives more than the accumulation of academic knowledge, we took the first opportunity to flee and have, consequently, little knowledge of their lifestyle. They seem to be a very fierce people and successful head-
Several other tribes, most of them primitive hunter-
2 Here, MLG’s terminology is not quite as random as in the previous case. Although a common origin seems dubious, we have good evidence for intensive contacts between the Sintak Tishens and other other factions of the Tishen and, more widely, Gueke tribes up to at most one generation ago.
3 As noted, no neighbouring group will confess to having any contact with them. But we do believe that an etic account would show that this is not the situation on the ground. Indeed, this ambivalent pattern of having intensive trade contacts while at the same time going as far as to deny even knowing the others reappears in the relation between other Taalbergen tribes and the Priskript Evists.
4 Spartan, one is tempted to say.
|Recision and Precall—Accuracy Measures for the 21st Century—Jonathan van der Meer|
|On Apparent “Systematic Suppletion” in Ksotre—Angus Æ. Balderdash, Esq. and Julienne Autolycus, Ph.D.|
|SpecGram Vol CLII, No 4 Contents|