I WRITE to correct any misconceptions about the report in The National on Sept 1 regarding attacks perpetrated on archaeologists in Simbai, Madang.
The archaeologists in Simbai were part of a collaborative research team involving archaeologists from Otago University (New Zealand), University of New South Wales (Australia), PNG National Museum and Art Gallery and students from the University of PNG.
The four people who attacked the archaeologists were actually part of a group of “untouchable” drug addicts who have been tormenting and troubling local communities in the Kaironk and Simbai Valley for a long time.
They are not actual landowners of the area the archaeologists were working with at the time of attack. Their attack was opportunistic and criminal.
Archaeological research in Simbai has been going for over the last five-six years with the full knowledge of the regulatory authority, Madang government and local communities in the Kaironk-Simbai Valleys.
With research like this, there are always awareness carried out and broad community and landowner consultations for research and consent to gain access to the land.
Archaeological research is purely for gaining knowledge about the history of an area origin and no one makes money out of any findings.
It was Madang Governor Jim Kas who, coincidently, while doing a tour of the district into Simbai, heard about the incident with our archaeologists.
It was the governor who hired a helicopter which went in with the police to arrest the culprits.
I hope the Madang people take responsibility to look after our foreign and local visitors in your province.
Alois Kuasonkro, National
Museum and Art Gallery, Port Moresby