Recision and Precall—Accuracy Measures for the 21st Century—Jonathan van der Meer SpecGram Vol CLII, No 4 Contents On Apparent “Systematic Suppletion” in Ksotre—Angus Æ. Balderdash, <i>Esq.</i> and Julienne Autolycus, Ph.D.
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The Taalbergen

Wanejem Tii
Department of Anthropology
University of Vienna
West Papua

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 none of the surviving members of the expedition was willing to say more about it. Several years later the funds and arms could be raised to go on another, this time anthropological, expedition into the area (Morgan, Lévi-Strauss and Geertz (2005), henceforth MLG), establishing the first contacts. Our study is first to collect more comprehensive data about the region and its inhabitants, and any journal should be proud to publish our work. [And, indeed, we are. —Eds.]

As pointed out by both LCW and MLG, the primary reason for the late exploration of the area lies in the unfavourable meteorological conditionsthe entire region is covered in thick clouds an average of 367 days a year, up to 26 hours a day. Little is known of the geographical organisation of the area, though it seems clear that, except for deep longitudinal valleys, most of the area is alpine. Accordingly it is not unexpected that communication between the different tribes is minimal and mostly hostile. Preliminarily we might even claim that communication is more significant between the tribes on different sides of the massif, and communication with the surrounding lowland populations is more intense than within a given area, although every informant of the lowland tribes will deny having any contact with those “monsters”. This is one of the reasons why previous generations of anthropologists thought the mountain range uninhabited. (The most significant tribes are the So-see O’lojests to the north and the Bye O’logists to the West. There are also some small populations of Fill O’logists, Sike O’logists, as well as Methmet Ishens and other subgroups of the Gueke tribal complex scattered along the southern and southeastern slopes.)

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 treesEds.]

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-junikejšn”). This behaviour appears to be totally arbitrary, as the area does not show significant seasonal variation at all. According to our interpretation of the local mythology, and in line with the radical cultural differences between the Lengwidž Filozofaz and other tribes in the region, they form a residue of the aboriginal population from before the other tribes invaded, which we estimate happened only a few centuries ago.

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-hunters, though most of the time they find their game out in the Lowlands. We believe that the key to understanding their outstanding success in military confrontations lies in their tight4 organization and rigorous autocracyit most certainly isn’t due to any technological superiority, as they seem to be technologically less developed than any other tribe we encountered.

Several other tribes, most of them primitive hunter-gatherers such as the Pragma Tishen and the Sosho Lingwists, could not be studied in detail due to the inhospitable nature of the environments they occupyvery high altitudes and swampland, respectively.

1 In signifying the tribes, we keep the partly faulty terminology of MLG. Indeed, the term “Fon O’logist” is misleading. There is no connection whatsoever to the various factions of the O’logist nation in the surrounding lowlands. The Fon O’logists seem to rarely ever be involved in trade with other populations either within or outside the area, and their language is an isolate as far as can be established to date.

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