A Blank on the Map

David Attenborough

When this documentary was made, New Guinean Bikaru natives who inhabit the country’s central highlands had never before set eyes on Europeans, nor had this unexplored region of the country ever been mapped from the ground.

Aerial maps of the country’s central region did exist which allowed the government sponsored Ambunti Patrol led by Laurie Bragge and his team to plan their trek, primarily by river and tributary, and then heading towards areas where the forest had been cleared. And at the time it was believed that these small plots of land were used as gardens by the natives to grow food.

Using these maps allowed David Attenborough, Bragge, police, and the 101 strong party, mostly bearers carrying food, canvas for shelters, and filming equipment other needed supplies for the long expedition.

Attenborough and the team eventually encounter signs of human habitation and shortly after are approached by a small tribe of natives.

The friendly tribe engages in some trading with Attenborough and his team, but when the team tries to follow them to their homes, they suddenly disappear into the forest and are never seen again.

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