The patrol report that I am assigned to is West New Britain, Talasea station, Papua New Guinea from 1968-1969. The Diary entries for the first patrol report mainly focuses on the road work on road from Talasesa to Narunageru. Patrol officer W.G. Speldewinde wrote down the amount of progress that was worked on the road, which included the amount of culverts and drains being constructed in this area.
There was very limited amount of information that I could find while researching for my topic, but luckily I was able to find two outside resources. Geographically West New Britain location is abundant with the volcanic glass called obsidian. As stated by Downie, “All obsidian form the lower levels come from the Talasea source on the central north coast of New Britain.” (Downie)
Culturally, taro, sweet potatoes, bananas, and coconuts are all common food staples in this area of Papua New Guinea. According to Todd, “This society, like most other Melanesian societies, is much concerned with the production of food and its related pursuits, and the ritual life to a large extent turns on these activities.” (Todd) During ceremonies pigs are eaten and birds are caught by using blowpipes and darts. Tom also states that the year is separated in to moons with names. Weeding is apparently usually a women’s occupation in West New Britain. Their society also relies on the trade with European men for its supply of axes and knives. It is also custom in West New Britain when a person died in West New Britain the bodies were normally buried under their house, but the administration stopped this. It was also a custom for widows to ask to be strangled by their own brothers. Afterwards the widow would be buried in the same grave as her husband. It is also a tradition in this part of Papua New Guinea to blacken a boy’s teeth and is secluded and is offered little to drink and eat for around four days when a boy goes through puberty.
White, J., Downie, J., & Ambrose, W. (1978). Mid-Recent Human Occupation and Resource Exploitation in the Bismarck Archipelago. Science, 199(4331), 877-879. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1745271
Todd, J. (1934). Report on Research Work in South-West New Britain, Territory of New Guinea (Continued). Oceania, 5(2), 193-213. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40327829