A village has been discovered in Indonesia where the dead are not buried but roasted over an open fire and kept as mummies for a long time. Daily Star UK reports that the “Dani people from the central highlands of western New Guinea, Indonesia, have been able to preserve their dead for centuries with smoke”.
Though it reports that the technique is no longer in use, a tribe in Wogi – a village close to the regional capital, Wamena – has held on to a number of mummies which it refused to bury. According to tradition in that region, smoking someone over a fire for weeks, or even months, is the ultimate show of respect for the deceased in Dani culture. In recent years, this bizarre culture has brought tourists to this isolated part of Indonesia, more than 2,000 miles from the capital, Jakarta.
Daily Star UK reports that “Visitors can also get a glimpse of Dani traditions at Baliem Valley Festival, an annual event with mock battles between tribes.”
The Dani tribe was first encountered by explorers in 1909, when they played host to a Dutch expedition in one village for several nights. One part of the tribe, the Grand Valley Dani, remained undiscovered until 1938 when an American spotted them from a plane.