Abstract: Population Growth and sociopolitical change in late pre-Contact Hawaii: Insights from Household Archaeology in Leeward Kohala, Hawaii Island


Captain Cook’s encounter with Hawaiian society in 1779 was the first to document a society of laborers, craftsmen, and a chiefly elite; a society that anthropologists of today classify as an archaic state.  Research of the evolution of that state is ongoing in Hawaii, and currently a multidisciplinary team including archaeologists, ecologists, soil scientists, demographers, and quantitative modelers is investigating the long-term human ecodynamics in the Hawaiian archipelago.  This research investigates the dynamics of population growth, agricultural intensification, and sociopolitical change via the archaeological investigation of households in leeward Kohala, on the island of Hawaii.  Household chronology, fission, and subsistence patterns are explored and used to detect the formation of new socioeconomic units (ahupua‘a), which fueled the emergence of the early Hawaiian state.  


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

2011  Field, J. S., T. N. Ladefoged, P. V. Kirch.  Household Expansion Linked to Agricultural Intensification during Emergence of Hawaiian Archaic States.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (18):7327-7332.

2012  Kirch, P. V., Asner, G., Chadwick, O.A., Field, J. S., Ladefoged, T. N., Lee, C., Puleston, C., Tuljapurkar, S., Vitousek, P. M.  Building and testing models of long-term agricultural intensification and population dynamics: A case study from the Leeward Kohala Field System, Hawaiʻi.  Ecological Modeling 227:18-28.

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