A composite showing the ritual of stone jumping, Bawomatuluo Village, Nias Island, Sumatra (best seen at large sizes)
Nias Island is the site of one of the last megalithic cultures, which are characterized by the use of stone monuments, statues and other stone objects (Stonehenge is an example of an ancient megalithic site). The Nias villages are build on hills; Bawomatuluo Village (meaning Sun Hill) is 400 m above sea level.
This is a PhotoShop composite of a sequence of 5 photos of one jumper, taken in rapid succession. The background was desaturated so the jumper could be seen more clearly.
Stone Jumping (called hombo batu), is a manhood ritual where young men leap over stone towers 2 to 2.5 meters high. In the past, the top of the stone was covered with spikes and sharp pointed bamboo, and the jumpers carried a torch in one hand and a sword in the other. It evolved out of warfare between island tribes, who fortified their villages with high stone walls. Warriors who could jump over the stone walls and other obstacles set up by the enemy could easily conquer their rivals.