Roviana is the name given to a large lagoon on the south coast of New Georgia in the Western Solomon Islands, to the people living on the shores of this lagoon, and to the language spoken to these people. The people of Roviana were one of the few peoples in the Solomon Islands to practice headhunting. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Roviana and their allies conducted extensive headhunting raids upon islands to the east, resulting in widespread depopulation.

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Traditional Culture(1875-1900)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 383-385
Nagaoka (1999), pp. 25
Nature god(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 383
Nagaoka (1999), pp. 25
Ancestral spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Walter et al (2004), pp. 150, 152-153
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Thomas et al (2001), pp. 556, 559
Sheppard et al (2000), pp. 11
God(s) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Goldie (1909), pp. 30
Nagaoka (1999), pp. 17

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Aswani (2000), pp. 59
Thomas (2003), pp. 82

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 383
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Principal determinant of one's afterlife (Source)
Thomas (2003)
Walter et al (2004), pp. 150-151
Culture hero(es) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Thomas et al (2001), pp. 566-567

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Thomas (2003), pp. 180-181

Classes of Tapu

Resource management tapu Absent (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 383-393
Social hierarchy tapu Absent (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 383-393

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Present (Source)
Walter et al (2004), pp. 154
Mana linked to genealogy Present, linked to both paternal and maternal lines (Source)
Walter et al (2004), pp. 154
Aswani & Sheppard (2003), pp. S55
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Present (Source)
Mana and social status Moderately associated (Source)
Walter et al (2004), pp. 154
Sheppard et al (2000), pp. 11
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Thomas (2003), pp. 236
Walter et al (2004), pp. 154
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Aswani (2008), pp. 186
Thomas (2003), pp. 106-107
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Walter et al (2004), pp. 153
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Aswani (2008), pp. 181, 183-184
Thomas (2003), pp. 112

Rites

Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 361-362
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 394
Scarification Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 365
Tattooing Absent from culture (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 365
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 362-365, 394
Social Environment +
Population 3500 (Source)
Nagaoka (2011), pp. 313-315
Somerville (1897), pp. 359
Population of largest political community 100-999 (Source)
Nagaoka (2011), pp. 318
Importance of Patrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Walter et al (2004), pp. 154
Thomas (2003), pp. 100
Importance of Matrilateral descent High (Source)
Walter et al (2004), pp. 154
Thomas (2003), pp. 100
Polygamy Limited polygyny (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 407
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 407

Conflict

Conflict with other cultures Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Aswani (2008), pp. 185, 186
Conflict within communities High (Source)
Aswani (2008), pp. 186
Conflict between communities of the culture Common, at least every five years (Source)
Aswani (2008), pp. 186
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Aswani & Sheppard (2003), pp. S56, S62
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 0.0 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Solomon Islands) (2014)
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 5534.9 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Solomon Islands) (2014)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Present: Clear evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Nagaoka (2011), pp. 25
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Aswani & Sheppard (2003), pp. S62
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 381
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Furusawa & Ohtsuka (2006), pp. 30
Somerville (1897), pp. 380-381
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 381
Land-based gathering Medium (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 380-381
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 381

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 381
Walter & Sheppard (2000), pp. 299
Water-based gathering Major (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 381
Walter & Sheppard (2000), pp. 299
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 381
Walter & Sheppard (2000), pp. 299

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Major (Source)
Somerville (1897), pp. 381
Walter & Sheppard (2000), pp. 296-297
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Four or more (Source)
Sheppard et al (2000), pp. 12
Ethnologue (Map of Solomon Islands) (2014)

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -8.1 (Source)
Thomas (2003), pp. 2
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 157.5 (Source)
Thomas (2003), pp. 2
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Volcanic high island (Source)
Walter & Sheppard (2000), pp. 299
Island Size (km²) 1470.0 (Source)
Haynes (1990), pp. 240
Maximum elevation (meters) 843.0 (Source)
Haynes (1990), pp. 240
Post Contact History(1900-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Role of social status in conversion process Mixed / Neither (Source)
Luxton (1955), pp. 23-49
Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Luxton (1955), pp. 23-49
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Luxton (1955), pp. 23-49
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Walter & Sheppard (2000)

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Present, and survived to the present day (Source)
McDougall (2008), pp. 4
Nagaoka (1999), pp. 119
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Thomas (2003), pp. 133
Kile et al. (2000), pp. 7-8
Immigration Absent (Source)
Aswani (2002), pp. 275-278
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Terrill & Dunn (2003), pp. 191

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence Medium (Source)
Aswani & Furusawa (2007), pp. 549
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Aswani & Furusawa (2007), pp. 549

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present but rarely used (Source)
Furusawa & Ohtsuka (2006), pp. 30
Google Maps (2014)
Air travel Absent (Source)
Furusawa & Ohtsuka (2006), pp. 30
Sea port Present (Source)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009), pp. 180
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Largely involuntary (Source)
Walter & Sheppard (2000), pp. 298
Thomas (2003), pp. 132
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Walter & Sheppard (2000), pp. 298
Thomas (2003), pp. 133
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Institutional religious syncretism Medium (Source)
McDougall (2008), pp. 4
Nagaoka (1999), pp. 119
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Walter & Sheppard (2000), pp. 316
McDougall (2008), pp. 4
External Links
References
Aswani, S. (2000). Changing Identities: The Ethnohistory of Roviana predatory Headhunting. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 109, 39-70. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20706907.

Aswani, S. (2002). Assessing the Effects of Changing Demographic and Consumption Patterns on Sea Tenure Regimes in the Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Ambio, 31 (4), 272-284. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4315253

Aswani, S. (2008). Forms of Leadership and Violence in Malaita and in the New Georgia Group, Solomon Islands. In Stewart, P.J. & Strathern, A. (Eds.), Exchange and Sacrifice (pp 171-193). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Aswani, S., & Furusawa, T. (2007). Do Marine Protected Areas Affect Human Nutrition and Health? A Comparison between Villages in Roviana, Solomon Islands. Coastal Management, 35 (5), 545-565. DOI: 10.1080/08920750701593394.

Aswani, S., & Sheppard, P. (2003). The Archeology of Ethnohistory of Exchange in Precolonial and Colonial Roviana: Gifts, Commodities, and Inalienable Possessions. Current Anthropology, 44, 51-78. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/377667

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.

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

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

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Ethnologue (Map of Solomon Islands). (2014). Map of Solomon Islands. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/map/SB.

Furusawa, T. & Ohtsuka, R. (2006). Inter-Household Variations in Subsistence Strategies within a Rural Society of Roviana, Solomon Islands: An Analysis of Agricultural Production and Cash Income in relation to Socio-Demographic Factors. Tropics, 15 (1), 29-27.

Goldie, Rev, J.F. (1909). The People of New Georgia. Their Manners and Customs, and Religious Beliefs. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 22, 23-30. Retrieved from: https://archive.org/stream/proceedingsofroy2225roya/proceedingsofroy2225roya_djvu.txt

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Haynes, A. (1990). The Numbers of Freshwater Gastropods on Pacific Islands and the Theory of Island Biogeography. Malacogia, 31 (2), 237-248.

Kilé, N., Lam, M., Davis, D.C. & Donnelly, R.J., 2000. Managing the live reef food fish trade in Solomon Islands: the role of village decision-making systems in Ontong Java, Roviana and Marovo Lagoons. Discussion Paper No.2. Report to Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. ACIAR, Canberra. 28pp.

Luxton, C.T.J. (1955). Isles of Solomon: A Tale of Missionary Adventure. Auckland, N.Z.: Methodist Foreign Missionary Society of New Zealand.

McDougall, D. (2008). Religious institutions as Alternative Structures in post-conflict Solomon Islands: Cases from Western Province. Governance in Melanesia Discussion Series, 08/05, Australian National University.

Nagaoka, T. (1999). Hope Pukerane: A Study of Religious Sites in Roviana, New Georgia, Solomon Islands (Unpublished Masters Thesis). University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Nagaoka, T. (2011). Late Prehistoric-Early Historic Houses and Settlement Spac on Nusa Roviana, New Georgia Group, Solomon Islands (Doctoral Thesis). University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009). World Port Index Nineteenth Edition. Bethesda, MD: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Sheppard, P., Walter, R., & Aswani, S. (2004). Oral Tradition and the Creation of Late Prehistory in Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 29, 123-132

Sheppard, P.J., Walter, R. & Nagaoka, T. (2000). The Archeology of Head-hunting in Roviana Lagoon, New Georgia. The Journal of Polynesian Society, 109(1), 9-38. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20706906.

Somerville, B.T. (1897). Ethnographic notes in New Georgia, Solomon Islands. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 26, 357-412

Terrill, A. & Dunn, M. (2003). Orthographic Design in the Solomon Islands: The Social, Historical and Linguistic Situation of Touo (Baniata). Written Language and Literacy, 6 (2), 177-192. Retrieved from http://www.ingentaconnect.com.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/content/jbp/wll/2003/00000006/00000002/art00002

Thomas, T., Sheppard, P., & Walter, R. (2001). Landscape, Violence and Social Bodies: Ritualized Architecture in a Solomon Islands Society. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 7 (3), 545-572. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3134418 .

Thomas, T.D. (2003). Things of Roviana. (Doctoral Thesis). University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Walter, R,; Thomas, T.; & Sheppard, P. (2004). Cult Assemblages and Ritual Practice in Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. World Archaeology, 36 (1), 142-157. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4128307

Walter, R. & Sheppard, P. (2000). Nusa Roviana: The Archaeology of a Melanesian Chiefdom. Journal of Field Archaeology, 27 (3), 295-318.