Sumba megalithic tradition: A sustainability perspective

Retno Handini, Jajang Gunawijaya, I. Made Geria, Daud Aris Tanudirjo, Qonitah Basalamah, Harry O. Sofian, M. Ruly Fauzi, Marlon Ririmasse, Cecep Eka Permana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sumba culture is one of the few societies in the world that still preserves its megalithic tradition up to the present day. The tradition of constructing stone graves, which have been in place for hundreds of years, is a testament to the significant sustainable process of Sumba people. This paper discusses research findings that measure the sustainability of the stone grave construction tradition in Sumba, as well as several other factors that support its persistence. The research was conducted using participant observation methodology and included in-depth interviews to gather information regarding sustainability measurement. The data collected were analysed using Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS). The findings indicate that the sustainability status of the stone grave tradition in Sumba is considered unsubstantial. Among the four dimensions measured; the sociocultural factor is the most prominent factor that supports sustainability whereas the economical dimension is the weakest. Therefore, to preserve the heritage for a longer extent, the economic dimension of the tradition would require more absorption from participating parties in the society. Furthermore, this finding is important for professionals who stress the need for more cultural attention to the four supporting dimensions of the sustainability concept which has only been based on economic, environmental, and social factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103154
JournalAnthropologie (France)
Issue number3
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Megalithic tradition
  • Multi-dimensional scaling
  • Sumba
  • Sustainability


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