The Alune are a language community living in western Seram. Like many peoples of the Central Maluku area, they traced their origins to the mythical 'Nunusaku' tree.

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Traditional Culture(1917)Expand All +
Belief +

Afterlife and Creation

The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 259
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and evolutionary (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 106-107
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 106-107

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 116, 351

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 226
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 46-47
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 259
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 138-149
Social Environment +
Population of largest political community 100-999 (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 40, 72, 83, 170, 284
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. vi, 4
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. vi, 87


(No) external warfare Common, at least every five years (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 29-69
(No) internal warfare Common, at least every five years (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 29-30, 44-45
Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 29, 73
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 0.0 (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 2
Distance to nearest continent 946.0 (Source)
Collins (1983), pp. 35
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Present: Clear evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 29
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 29
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Absent (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 13-19
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 13-19
Land-based gathering Major (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 13-119
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Principal (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 13-19
Agriculture / Horticulture Major (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 13-19

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 13-19
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 13-19
Water-based gathering Minor (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 18-19

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Absent (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 13-19
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998)

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Continental island (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 7
Island Size (km²) 17746.0 (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 7
Maximum elevation (meters) 3027.0 (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 8


Latitude -3.1 (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. Map 1.2
Longitude 128.5 (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. Map 1.2
Post Contact History(1917-)Expand All +
Religious History +


Role of social status in conversion process Mixed / Neither (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 65-66
Use of force in conversion Medium (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 65-66
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 8
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from Austronesian societies only (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 65-66

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 65-66
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 40
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 66

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Largely involuntary (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 40
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Boulan-Smit (1998), pp. 40
External Links
Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Boulan-Smit, M.-C. (1998). We of the banyan tree: Traditions of origin of the Alune of West Seram [Doctoral Thesis, Australian National University]. Australian National University Open Access Theses.

Brunton, R. (1989). The Abandoned Narcotic: Kava and Cultural Instability in Melanesia. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Collins, J. T. (1983). The historical relationships of the languages of Central Maluku, Indonesia. Canberra, Australia: The Australian National University.

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Daft Logic Area Calculator. (2014). Retrieved from:

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014).