Yesterday I wrote a short post about stone-pulling among the Naga, an agricultural people of northeastern India. Early 20th century ethnography documented the Angami Naga moving multi-ton stones as part of prestige-building ceremonies. Stones were quarried, moved long distances, and erected by large groups of people in a ritual under-written by a feast.
I assumed that the stone-pulling ceremonies of the Naga were a thing of the past: I was wrong! There are several short, recent (2009-2014) videos on YouTube that show stones being pulled by the Naga:
The videos from Viswema and Kigwema show large groups of people (at least several hundred) in ceremonial dress pulling large stones on a paved road. The Kigwema video is nice because of the angle - from above you can get a good sense of the size of the stone.
The Maram videos show smaller stones on wooden sleds being pulled on unpaved woodland trails. It is more difficult to get a sense of how many people are pulling. The video of the stone getting pulled up the hillside is pretty impressive.
While the social and economic contexts of the stone-pulling ceremonies have certainly changed over time, seeing how groups of people move really big rocks is pretty neat. I'm hoping there is some detailed quantitative information out there on these ceremonies: number of people involved, distances the stones were moved, and the sizes of the stones. I also know that there are other ethnographic cases that can provide some context for evaluating ideas about prehistoric megalithic construction.