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Indeed, there are obvious advantages to this arrangement, as compared to travelling back and forth between longhouses and jungle farms that have to be cleared anew every year. Even within Borneo, many people do not build longhouses, and evidently do perfectly well without them. So why do people in central Borneo live in longhouses? It is a perfectly reasonable question, but it will come as no surprise that ethnography has produced no direct answer. If you were to ask the longhouse residents, they would simply say that there was no other civilized way to live. I sympathise with their response, but it will not satisfy those who have never tried it. Consequently, my goal is to put longhouse communities in a broader context, using both ethnographic and historical data, and examining in turn the key issues of leadership, trade, and ritual.

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13y ago
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Q: What were the advantages and disadvantages of a longhouse?
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