News & Views

PNG: The Culture of the Highlands

The Highlands of New Guinea are a chain of mountain ranges and river valleys which have for centuries supported thriving agricultural communities with rich cultural heritage. The whole of Papua New Guinea contains amazingly high levels of biocultural diversity, and the communities who live across the ecosystems and islands have developed distinct agricultural, fishing, hunting and gathering economies. The area supported agricultural civilization as old as those of Mesopotamia, and the cultures of the highlands continue to adapt and adopt new crops including the sweet potato varieties that Polynesians brought from South America several centuries ago. These photos are from ‘Exploring the New Guinea Highlands‘, a collaborative educational program conceived by the Jolika Collection of New Guinea Art at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California.

Photo credit: Mark Eby