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Mervyn Meggitt

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Mervyn Meggitt


University of Sydney

November 13, 2003, New York, United States

Blood is Their Argument: Warfare Among the Mae Enga Tribesmen of the New Guinea Highlands

Mervyn Meggitt (20 August 1924 – 13 November 2004 New York State) was an Australian anthropologist and one of the pioneering researchers of highland Papua New Guinean and Indigenous Australians cultures.

Born in Warwick, Queensland and educated at the Anglican Church Grammar School (formerly the Church of England Grammar School) in Brisbane, Meggitt served in the Royal Australian Navy during the Second World War. Following demobilisation, he became one of the first students of anthropology at the University of Sydney, and between 1953 and 1979 he carried out research amongst the Warlpiri (Walbiri) of Australia and the people of Enga Province, Papua New Guinea. In the 1960s he took a position as a professor of anthropology at the City University of New York. His works include The Lineage System of the Mae Enga and Desert People: A Study of the Walbiri Aborigines of Australia. But perhaps his most noted work is "Blood is Their Argument," an intensive analysis of the warfare habits of the Enga tribes. The book is widely considered to be among the first ethnographic studies of warfare.

In his work on the people of Enga in Papua New Guinea Meggitt found a firmly patrilineal system. This was unusual compared to other highland groups, which tended to be organized on a basis of both residence and descent. Restudies of his material as well the Enga suggest that Meggitt overstated the case and the Enga may be more like other highlands groups than was thought in previous decades.


Mervyn Meggitt Wikipedia

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