Series 581 - Mervyn Meggitt's Enga (Papua New Guinea) field materials

Identity area

Reference code

AU ANUA 581

Title

Mervyn Meggitt's Enga (Papua New Guinea) field materials

Date(s)

  • c1960 (Creation)

Level of description

Series

Extent and medium

0.1 m (1 file); 1 type 2 box

Context area

Content and structure area

Scope and content

There are two sets of material ( 2 items) in the collection including:
(i) a ringbinder primarily containing a set of genealogical diagrams, and,
(ii) a set of worksheets primarily containing survey plots of garden land use and ownership

There is little or no descriptive documentation attached to either set of records. As far as is known, Meggitt never published the results of this land survey.
The garden land use and ownership survey was conducted in July-September 1960, with tabulation in 1961 (Meggitt 1978: 109-109, and monthly dating on the worksheets).
The survey covers gardens of the Kara clan (at least, and possibly others) at Sari, a location near Wabag, in what was then called the Upper Lai Census Division 12, Enga Province. The genealogical data also appears to be mainly of members of the Kara clan, and was collected and added to between the 1950s and c.1987.
Sari was Meggitt’s main field site between at least 1955 and the 1980s (Meggitt 1957: 161, and personal communication with P Wohlt, who visited Meggitt there in the 1980s-, and T Hays.

NB. These materials, as far as it known, are the only surviving raw field data from Meggitt’s Enga studies, as he destroyed the other materials before his death.

Meggitt, M J, 1957. “House building among the Mae Enga, Western Highlands, Territory of New Guinea”. Oceania, 27(3), 161-176.

Meggitt, M J, 1978. “Reflections occasioned by continuing anthropological field research among the Enga of Papua New Guinea”. In: Foster, G M. Scudder, T., Colson, E., and Kemper, R.V. ed. Long-term field research in social anthropology. New York, Academic Press, 107-125.

Accruals

System of arrangement

PART A: Enga genealogies (A ring binder of genealogical diagrams)
PART B: One set of worksheets

PART A contains 3 sets of material:
1. Inside the left front cover, under a dog clip, there are 2 sets of loose papers:


  • (1) LGC Census 1976 Sari/Kara ;
  • (2) Upper Lai CD 1978-7? Kara clans census (Amara 45 families, Sari 65 families), detailed figures/statistics.

Note: These both appear to be copied from government source material?.

2. 71 pages of genealogical forms – with some new entries continuing until 1987.

3. Alphabetical index sheets including (all?) the names included in the genealogies of (ii). These are linked by page number to the genealogical pages.

The genealogies presumably cover the Kara clan of Sari (and perhaps some other groups?)

PART B: Worksheets. There are two sets of worksheets:

1. Thirteen (13) initial worksheets, including : An untitled map on tracing paper showing one surveyed (compass+pace) area near an SDA station and an airstrip (this looks like the Wabag area) ; Nine worksheets on large (foolscap or larger size) graph paper analysing aspects of landholding and use by men in different categories of agnatic status. These sheets include:


  • Kamungka: No of dependents by age group; Agnates, Quasi-agnates; Marital status (single, widowed, monogamous, bigamous); land area under sp (?sweet potato), fallow, all
  • Agnatic status (excluding employed men) by total area owned (square yards)
  • Males, Occupants “land owned and borrowed” ; land use (sp, fallow, all) ; by marital status, by agnatic status (agnate, quasi-agnate, other cognate, affine, unrelated)
  • Males, Occupants, “land lent” by same categories as above
  • Males, Occupants, “land owned and lent” by same categories
  • Males, Occupants, “land borrowed” by same categories
  • Males, Occupants, “own land” by same categories
  • Gender (Agnates/Quasi Agnates) - Borrower (Agnates/Quasi Agnates/ Other/Affine/Unrelated), by land area
  • Genealogy (including births up to 1961)
  • Kandep Descent Groups, listed, number, population (61 groups)
  • Waka Descent Groups, listed, number, population (63 groups)
  • A blank sheet

2. Sixty eight ( 68) sheets* of large (foolscap or larger size) graph paper containing plotted land/garden surveys (possibly made by compass and pacing, some with a tape measure). Distances in yards; areas in square yards (some in acres).
Each sheet is labelled with a number, i.e “Sheet 1” through to “Sheet 68”.
Each sheet from No. 1 - 20 is labelled July (19) 60 (some with “Details tabulated July (1961)”
Each sheet from No. 20 - 49 is labelled August
Each sheet from No. 50 - 68 is labelled Sept (19) 60
Some sheets (i.e. Nos. 35, 37, contain further/other plotting on the reverse side
Locations on sheets are linked to adjoining sheets via the sheet numbers
Occasionally there is a descriptive name, i,e. Sheet 2 “Kaimanguna” and this appears again on Sheet 19 “Kaimangunu clan”. Otherwise they are not titled.

Each plotted garden or garden section has a number in red on it. These must be identification numbers which were probably used in conjunction with index cards (or similar), for initial data ordering and calculations before transferral to the worksheets described above. It is not clear how areas were calculated from the surveys.

Many/most of the plotted areas contain descriptive notes about land use such as the number of sweet potato mounds, or fallow, or pandanus, etc.

Note - There are about 4 additional extra part-sheets (25A, 26A, 35A, and, after Sheet 61, Jan (19) 62 “Changes to sheets 59 and 61”

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Open access ; researchers must sign an access agreement

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Publication note

The collection, as far as is known, is the only surviving raw field data from Meggitt’s Enga studies, as he destroyed the other materials before his death. Publications based on his studies include:

Meggitt, M.J. 1957. “House building among the Mae Enga, Western Highlands, Territory of New Guinea”. Oceania, 27(3), 161-176

Meggitt, M.J. 1978. “Reflections occasioned by continuing anthropological field research among the Enga of Papua New Guinea”. In: Foster, G.M., Scudder, T., Colson, E., and Kemper, R.V. ed. Long-term field research in social anthropology. New York, Academic Press, 107-125

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by Christine Bryan in September 2015 based on Robin Hide's description dated August 2015

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The collection was appraised by Robin Hide, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, August 2015. The series description was also written by Robin Hide.

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