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Unearthing the Polynesian PastExplorations and Adventures of an Island Archaeologist$
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Patrick Vinton Kirch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824853457

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824853457.001.0001

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Kahikinui, “Great Tahiti” (Kahikinui, Maui, 1995–2000)

Kahikinui, “Great Tahiti” (Kahikinui, Maui, 1995–2000)

(p.249) Chapter Eighteen Kahikinui, “Great Tahiti” (Kahikinui, Maui, 1995–2000)
Unearthing the Polynesian Past

Patrick Vinton Kirch

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter describes a re-engagement with Hawaiian archaeology through research efforts in Kahikinui, one of the twelve ancient districts (moku) of Maui. Some might have thought Kahikinui an odd choice in which to investigate the rise of archaic states in ancient Hawai‘i, as it is considered a kua‘āina, or “backwater” district (literally “back of the land”). Yet it proved to be the right place to investigate the rise of archaic states in ancient Hawai‘i. Being ecologically marginal Kahikinui had not suffered from the effects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century land development; the archaeological landscape of an entire moku, or district, was intact. More importantly, the radical shifts in economic production, land tenure, religious organization, and social structure that accompanied the transition to archaic states would likely be reflected more clearly in such outlying kua‘āina lands than in the “salubrious core regions” frequented by the chiefs.

Keywords:   Kahikinui, Hawaiian archaeology, University of Hawai‘i, Maui, archaic states, ancient Hawai‘i, kua‘āina lands, chiefdoms

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