Crawford House Publishing
Historical Vines Enga Netwirk of Exchange, Ritual, and Warfare in Papua New Guinea.

Between 250 and 450 years ago, the introduction of sweet potatoes along local trade routes from the coast participated rapid changes amongst the Enga of Papua New Guinea. The new crop enabled them to settle more permanently, practise intensive agriculture, and produce a substantial surplus of pigs.

These developments led to the emergence of some of the largest and most elaborate networks of public exchanges of wealth, tournament wars, and religious ceremonies known in pre-state societies.

Drawing on interviews conducted over 10 years with elders in 110 tribes, Polly Wiessner and Akii Tumu chart Enga history over a span of some 300 years. They reconstruct the ecological, social, political and ideological processesthat shaped these continually changing networks before first contact with Europeans.

At the heart of the book is an ethnohistory of the Tee ceremonial exchange cycle, which originated in some 20 clans eight generations ago and had grown to encompass about 355 clans and involve the distribution of up to 100,000 pigs by the time of first contact with Europeans.

Wiessner and Tumu also show how leaders used religious movements to alter norms and values and mediate tensions during times of intense economic competition and growing social inequalities.

Polly Wiessner is a professor of anthropology at Arizona State University and the University of Utah in the US. She has conducted research for over 30 years among the Enga.

Akii Tumu is a well-known Enga artist and the director of the Enga Take Anda, Tradition and Transition Centre in Wabag, Enga Province.



Polly Wiessner & Akii Tumu


New Release




39 photographs, 2 maps


Soft cover


297 x 214 mm



© Copyright 2019 Crawford House Publishing Australia