Papua new guinea stilt house

Papua New Guinea stilt house is a stilt house constructed by Motuans, one of the native peoples of Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea is a country with high mountains, forests, lowlands, swamps, and coral beaches.

The Motuans live in villages along the southern coastal area of Papua New Guinea. They live in houses built on stilts over the sea. Even today they still like to build their houses over the sea. The stilt houses can last from 20 to 30 years. This will depend on the sort of lumber used for the posts, and hence the type of tree they choose is of great importance. The Motuans do not go into the forest to chop any big trees down. They have to chop the trees that can resist erosion and propulsion of waves. If that is ignored, they will probably replace the posts quite often, every five or so years.

Building method

The height from the ground to the floor of the house is about 3.5 to 4 metres. This allows for the water level at high tide. How long it takes to build a house depends on the availability of materials. In the beginning the posts need to be fixed into the ground, so, in this case, the sea has to be first at a reasonably high level to allow men to put the posts up. It takes all men in the village to help put up the posts because the houses are quite gigantic in size.

To erect one post requires about twenty men. Moreover, before the post is put up, the end that is to go down into the seabed is sharpened so as to allow it to penetrate easily. The 20 men divide themselves in half. They tie a rope around the post. Half hold onto one side while the other half hold the opposite side. They place where they want the post to stand and mark it.

See also

See original article by Mary Kidu at Created 23 May 1998

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