January 24, 1999
Pebaey wall with back rest
Makiy is a traditional dancing ground. Dancing grounds are widened paths, essentially. This one is in the form of a cross, formed by four platforms. The principal dancing ground is lined the length with stone money --- some of it taller than me. The platforms contain a series of backrests, which I am told are intended for various personages and villagers who are permitted to attend this dancing ground. On one of the platforms is the foundation of a pebaey --- a meeting house. Only the foundation remains. The foundations are six-sided, sort of like a boat, with two long sides and pointed ends. The meeting house we visited yesterday in Bechiyal is a pebaey.
This is one of the special project sites --- a traditional site --- for which the community was given some money to clean it up. The amount of money provided is more of a token; the idea is to reinvigorate a community's pride in its heritage. One of the conditions of accepting the funding is that the community must periodically clean and maintain the site for a designated period of time. When we went to visit the place, there was a family doing just that --- pulling weeds and generally cleaning up a portion of the site.
The vegetation growth is incredible --- Mario said he and John had come out to inspect the site about three months ago and it was all very clean. Now, one section is very overgrown. It at least gives me an idea of what to expect in our surveys to come.
|Here is a baby sleeping in a mat hung from a coconut log. The parents had come to clean away a bit of the vegetation that constantly threatens the site.
Stone money -- some of it taller than me
Below: Pebaey back. Here the vegetation has been removed, and the site has been at least partially cleaned up. It is easy here to visualize what it might look like with the house on the foundation.
Pebaey, back view
Below: Underneath all that vegetation is the wall --- a multicourse wall built with randomly arranged stones (shist and ironstone, mainly) put together through a dry masonry technique, i.e., with no mortar between the stones. This is the same technique applied to all traditional features, whether you find them in archaeological settings like abandoned village sites or currently inhabited villages.
Pebaey foundation, uncleared