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Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Publication details for Prof Paul Sillitoe

Sillitoe, P. , Stewart, P.J. & Strathern, A. (2002). Horticulture in Papua New Guinea: Case Studies from the Southern and Western Highlands. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh.

Author(s) from Durham


This monograph provides a range of materials on subsistence gardening practices in different parts of the highlands region of Papua New Guinea. It consists of one main case study executed in considerable depth of detail on a single people, the Wola, by Sillitoe; followed by a comparative sketch on gardening patterns in three areas, inhabited by the Duna, Pangia, and Hagen peoples, by Stewart and Strathern. This comparative sketch is intended to illustrate similarities in overall practices between different parts of the Highlands, showing that the Wola gardening system is characteristic of a wider regimen found throughout the region. The sketch is also intended to introduce some broad suggestions on how gardening patterns may have developed and diffused over time in particular parts of the Highlands. We do not deal with questions of change resulting from cash-cropping of coffee, tea, and vegetables, although these changes have greatly impacted gardening arrangements since the 1950s in most parts of the Highlands. The monograph as a whole contributes significantly to debates on the history of argricultural practices in the Highlands, where Jack Golson’s work has established a considerable time depth for agriculture at Kuk in the Hagen area; on the relative efficiency of stone versus steel tools; and on the precise details of subsistence practices in terms of inputs and crop production among the Wola.