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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated inhabited archipelago in the world. Initially colonized around A.D. 1000, the environmental gradients of rainfall and island-age have influenced subsequent cultural variation and differentiation in the islands. Settlements are typically dispersed hamlets and integrated within agricultural facilities such as irrigated pondfields and dryland field systems. Populations were politically organized in idealized pie-shaped units or ahupua`a that typically encompass a cross-section of island resources. Material culture , including fishhooks, stone tools, and religious temples, is broadly similar within these units, but there is also much evidence for elite control of specialized production in some areas. The Hawaiian Islands are the archetypal chiefdom society, although based on changes in demography, monumental architecture (heiau) and royal centers, intensive agriculture, and divine kingship, the population had likely crossed the threshold of sociopolitical complexity to that of an archaic state prior to the arrival of Europeans in 1778.

Keywords: archaic state, chiefdom, ahupua`a, heiau, intensive agriculture, divine kingship

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