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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