Also known as: Mandegugusu; Eddystone Island

Simbo, known locally as Mandegugusu, is a small island in the western Solomons. Historically, headhunting played a major role in the indigenous religion, although its precise meaning is debated. In the second half of the nineteenth century, headhunting raids by the Simboese and their allies from Roviana led to the near-depopulation of other parts of the Solomon Islands. Soon after the British forcibly put an end to these raids, the anthropologists W.H.R. Rivers and Arthur Hocart conducted fieldwork on Simbo (then known as Eddystone), and interpreted the abolition of headhunting as having brought about cultural and demographic decline. Pat Barker's Booker-winning novel 'The Ghost Road' (1995) contains powerful passages detailing Rivers' memories of his time on this island.

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

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Hocart (1937), pp. 40
Nature god(s) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Hocart (1922), pp. 289-290
Ancestral spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Dureau (2000), pp. 79
Hocart (1922), pp. 263
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Hocart (1922), pp. 271-282; 284-289

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Dureau (2000), pp. 79

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Dureau (2000), pp. 79-80
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Principal determinant of one's afterlife (Source)
Dureau (2000), pp. 79, 87
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and creationist (Source)
Hocart (1922), pp. 272
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Hocart (1922)
Culture hero(es) Absent (Source)
Hocart (1922), pp. 258-305

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 259
Rivers (1916), pp. 118-119

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Rivers (1926), pp. 92-93
Social hierarchy tapu Absent (Source)
Rivers (1916), pp. 117-120
Scheffler (1962)

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Present (Source)
Dureau (2000), pp. 84, 87
Mana linked to genealogy Present, linked to both paternal and maternal lines (Source)
Dureau (2000), pp. 87
Scheffler (1962), pp. 139
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Present (Source)
Mana and social status Moderately associated (Source)
Dureau (2000), pp. 84-87
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Blust (2007), pp. 418
Dureau (2000), pp. 85-86, 87
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Dureau (2000), pp. 76-78, 82
Hocart (1931), pp. 302-303
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Hocart (1922), pp. 269
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 259
Scheffler (1962), pp. 152
Political and religious differentiation No overlap (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 259-260

Rites

Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Cheyne (1852), pp. 64-65
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Hocart (1935B), pp. 22
Rivers (1926), pp. 69-70
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Cheyne (1852), pp. 64-65
Tattooing Absent from culture (Source)
Ambrose (2012), pp. 15
Cheyne (1852), pp. 64-65
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Hocart (1935B)
Cheyne (1852)
Social Environment +
Population 500 (Source)
Bayliss-Smith (2006), pp. 31-34
Population of largest political community 100-999 (Source)
Bayliss-Smith (2006), pp. 31-34
Importance of Patrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Scheffler (1962), pp. 137, 145
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Scheffler (1962), pp. 137, 145
Marital residence Ambilocal - with either wife's or husband's kin (Source)
Scheffler (1962), pp. 143

Conflict

Conflict within communities Moderate (Source)
Rivers (1926), pp. 87
Scheffler (1962), pp. 150-151
Conflict between communities of the culture Occasional, at least every generation (Source)
Hocart (1931), pp. 302-303
Scheffler (1962), pp. 151-152, 156
Conflict with other cultures Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Dureau (2000), pp. 76-77
Hocart (1931), pp. 302-303
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Bayliss-Smith (2006), pp. 33-34
Burman (1981), pp. 258-259
Hocart (1931), pp. 303, 305
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 8.0 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Solomon Islands) (2014)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 5473.3 (Source)
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 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)
Burman (1981), pp. 252
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 259, 261
Dureau (2012), pp. 19
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Absent (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 261
Land-based gathering Major (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 255-268, 263
Hocart (1922), pp. 296
Sinclair et al (2010), pp. 118
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 261
Dureau (2012), pp. 19
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 257

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 255
Hocart (1935A), pp. 100
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Hocart (1937), pp. 33
Water-based gathering Major (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 261

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Minor (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 258-259
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Burman (1981), pp. 252
Scheffler (1962), pp. 136

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -8.3 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 156.5 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Volcanic high island (Source)
Scheffler (1962), pp. 135-137
Island Size (km²) 14.0 (Source)
Petterson et al (2008), pp. 149
Maximum elevation (meters) 330.0 (Source)
Petterson et al (2008), pp. 149
Post Contact History(1900-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Dureau (2001B)
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from Austronesian societies only (Source)
Dureau (2001B), pp. 145
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Dureau (2001B), pp. 145

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Dureau (2012)
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Lauer et al (2013), pp. 42, 44
Dureau (1998), pp. 243
Immigration Absent (Source)
Lauer et al (2012), pp. 177
Dureau (2012), pp. 12-13
Language shift Low (Source)
Lauer et al (2013), pp. 42
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Dureau (1998), pp. 243

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence Medium (Source)
Dureau (1998), pp. 243
Dureau (2012), pp. 12-13
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Dureau (1998), pp. 243, 260

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Absent (Source)
Lauer et al (2013), pp. 42
Air travel Absent (Source)
Petterson et al (2008), pp. 150-151
Google Maps (2014)
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)
Dureau (2001A), pp. 240
Dureau (2001B), pp. 143
Lauer et al (2013), pp. 46
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Dureau (1998), pp. 243
Dureau (2001A), pp. 240
Lauer et al (2013), pp. 42, 44
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Institutional religious syncretism Medium (Source)
Dureau (1998), pp. 252-253
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Dureau (2012), pp. 240
External Links
References
Ambrose, W. (2012). Oceanic Tattooing and the Implied Lapita Ceramic Collection. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 3 (1), 1-21. Retrieved from http://www.pacificarchaeology.org/index.php/journal/article/view/73

Bayliss-Smith, T. (2006). Fertility and the Depopulation of Melanesia: Childlessness, Abortion and Introduced Disease in Simbo and Ontong Java, Solomon Islands. In S.J. Ulijaszek, (Ed.), Population, Reproduction and Fertility in Melanesia (13-52). New York, NY: Berghahn Books.

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.

Blust, R. (2007). Proto-Oceanic *Mana Revisited. Oceanic Linguistics, 46(2), 404-423. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20172322

Brookfield, H. C., & Hart, D. (1971). Melanesia: a geographical interpretation of an island world. London: Methuen.

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

Burman, R. (1981). Time and Socioeconomic Change on Simbo, Solomon Islands. Man, 16 (2), 252-257. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2801398

Cheyne, A. (1852). A Description of Islands of the Western Pacific Ocean, North and South of the Equator. London, UK: J.D. Potter. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.nz/books?hl=en&lr=&id=OTUBAAAAQAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=cheyne+1852&ots=THpTesfhXz&sig=zd51LmGUXBUhWfhmipm5Tl3v-2w#v=onepage&q=cheyne%201852&f=false

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.

Dureau, C. (1998). From Sisters to Wives: Changing Contexts of Maternity on Simbo, Western Solomon Islands. In Ram, K. & Jolly, M. Maternities and Modernities: Colonial and Postcolonial Experiences in Asia and the Pacific. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.nz/books?hl=en&lr=&id=gfQDSiiT_FIC&oi=fnd&pg=PA239&dq=dureau+1998+simbo&ots=l18tlsD1ou&sig=gwr_EimEDuChbKzPNifJifoK2qA#v=onepage&q=dureau%201998%20simbo&f=false

Dureau, C. (2000). Skulls, Mana and Causality. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 109 (1), 71-97. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/stable/20706908

Dureau, C. (2001A). Mutual Goals? Family Planning on Simbo, Western Solomon Islands. In Jolly, M., and Ram, K., (Eds.) Borders of Being: Citizenship, Fertility, and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.

Dureau, C. (2001B). Recountering and Remembering ‘First Contact’ on Simbo. In Mageo, J.M. (Ed.), Cultural Memory: Reconfiguring History and Identity in the Postcolonial Pacific (pp 130-162). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii.

Dureau, C. (2012). Death of a Key Symbol. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 121 (1), 11-32. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a2h&AN=76151510&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Solomon Islands). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/553556/Solomon-Islands

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

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

Hocart, A.M. (1922). The Cult in the Dead in Eddystone of the Solomons. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 52, 259-305. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2843738

Hocart, A.M. (1931). Warfare in Eddystone of the Solomons. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 61, 301-324. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2843922.

Hocart, A.M. (1935A). The Canoe and the Bonito in Eddystone Island. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 65, 97-111. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2843843

Hocart, A.M. (1935B). Initation and Manhood. Man, 35, 20-22. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/stable/2791269

Hocart, A.M. (1937). Fishing in Eddystone Island. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 67, 33-41. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2844168

Lauer, M. (2012). Oral Traditions or Situated Practices? Understanding How Communities Respond to Environmental Disasters. Human Organisation, 71 (2), 176-187. Retrieved from http://sfaa.metapress.com.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/content/j0w0101277ww6084/

Lauer, M.; Albert, A.; Aswani, S.; Halpern, B.S.; Campanella, L. & La Rose, D. (2013). Globalization, Pacific Islands and the Paradox of Resilience. Global Environmental Change, 23, 40-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2012.10.011.

Lichtenberk, F. (1998). Did Speakers of Proto Oceanic Chew Betel? The Journal of the Polynesian Society Vol. 107, No. 4 (December 1998), pp. 335-363. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20706827

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

Petterson, M.G.; Tolia, D.; Cronin, S.J. & Addison, R. (2008). Communicating Geoscience to Indigenous People: Examples from the Solomon Islands. In Liverman, D.G.E.; Pereira, C.P.G. and Marker, B. (Eds.) Communicating Environmental Geoscience. London, Geological Society (Special Publications). DOI: 10.1144/SP305.13

Rivers, W.H.R. (1916). The Fitzpatrick Lectures: On Medicine, Magic and Religion. The Lancet, 187 (4820), 117-123. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(01)10610-0

Rivers, W.H.R. (1926). Psychology and Ethnology. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & Company. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/psychologyethnol00rive

Scheffler, H. W. (1962). Kindred and Kin Groups in Simbo Island Social Structure. Ethnology, 1 (2), 135-157. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/stable/3772871

Sinclair, J.R.; Tuke, L.; & Opiang, M. (2010). What the Locals Know: Comparing Traditional and Scientific Knowledge of Megapodes in Melanesia. In Tideman, S. & Gosler, A. (Eds.) Ethno-ornithology. London, UK: Earthscan. (pp 115-140).