Additional Participants

Undergraduate Student

Teresa Williams
Barbara Sumner
Catherine Foxson
Jeremy Stover
Justin Brown
Charlotte Martin
Joshua Golek
Michele Cameron

Project Period

July 1, 1997-December 31 1999

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



This research examines the causes and consequences of military practices in contact-era highland New Guinea. Drawing on data from 180 societies, the project will use a regional comparative methodology to examine how military practices are affected by physical, demographic, social and cultural conditions, and how military practice influences settlement patterns, social structure, local community formation, gender ideology, clan structure, art and ritual production. The investigator, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Maine, will consult archival materials in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, and the U.S. The project represents a major synthesis of our knowledge of the peoples and cultures of this area of the world. The research will result in a computerized textual database of 180 New Guinea societies, and two computerized, coded databases, usable by other researchers, of quantitative and qualitative information for about 1,500 local communities. This research is important because it will advance our understanding of how tribal warfare differs from modern or `civilized` war. The knowledge created by this research will be a valuable resource for commentators who wish to discuss the role of warfare and the nature of humankind.

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