“Speleological knowledge and social structures in a rural community in Sepik, Papua New Guinea”: a presentation at the Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale

The 28 February 2020, Sébastien Plutniak was invited to give a presentation at the “Dynamiques relationnelles” seminar, organised by Olivier Allard and Isabelle Yaya MacKenzie at the Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale in Paris. His talk, entitled “Savoirs spéléologiques et structures sociales dans une communauté rurale du Sepik, Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée” was an opportunity to have an in-depth discussion about the sociological aspects of the Papuan Past Project. The participants of this seminar are experts in kinship analysis, both from a general perspective and in the use of advanced computing methods applied to the analysis of kinship networks, such as the Puck software, which is also used in the Papuan Past Project.

Environmental Knowledge and Social Relations: Forest Caves in a Rural Community in Northern Papua New Guinea (presentation at the “Frognet” conference)

Sébastien Plutniak participated in the Frognet conference on social networks in Toulouse, France (27-28th May 2019). He presented the preliminary results of his analysis on the social distribution of knowledge related to the caves in Awim village, East Sepik, Papua New Guinea. His study complements the archaeological study of rock art in this region undertaken in the framework of the Papuan Past Project. This post presents the abstract of the talk in English and in French.

Abstract

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Film-makers following the tracks of Denisova with the Papuan Past Project team

Film director Guy Beauché in front of handstencils in Kundumbu rockshelter (Photo: F.-X. Ricaut).

The research activities of the Papuan Past Project have gained interest beyond the scientific community, resulting in the project participating in a documentary film. One of the recent publications from the project, on the possible Denisova-Modern Humans admixture in New Guinea, has led the production house Galaxies/Scienti-Film to support a documentary on the exciting Denisova topic. The Papuan Past Project is the only research project to combine genetic and archaeological investigations, so an interesting project to cover in the film. A team composed of the film director Guy Beauché and sound engineer Christophe Joly joined the team from the 16th of June to the 2nd of July 2019. They filmed in the two regions that were the focus of the 2019 fieldwork: the Sepik and Highland regions. Footage from these locations will be complemented with footage from the Himalayas and Russia (Denisova cave) and research laboratories in Europe (e.g. France: University of Toulouse for the human genetic and National Museum of Natural History for the archaeological questions).

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From Sepik to Slovenia and return: an encounter with Sepik ethnographers in Ljubljana

 When they are not in the field confronting the rainforest climate of Papua New Guinea, Borut Telban and Tomi Bartole, two researchers among the few specialists of the remote East Sepik Province, work in the temperate climate of Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital.
Borut has conducted ethnographic fieldwork and anthropological research along the Konmei and Arafundi rivers for decades, after he received his PhD from the Australian National University in 1994. Tomi is currently living and working in the U.K., where he received his PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2017 after fieldwork conducted in the Awim village. His last visit to his research department in the Slovenian Academy of Science, the Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies, from which he was granted a post-doctoral grant, was an opportunity for members of the Papuan Past Project to meet the two anthropologists and discuss both groups’ research.

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