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Reappraising craft specialization and exchange in pre-contact Hawai`i through non-destructive sourcing of basalt adze debitage.

Peter R. Mills, Steven P. Lundblad, Ken Hon, Jadelyn J. Moniz Nakamura, Elizabeth L. Kahahane, Adrian Drake-Raue, Tanya M. Souza, Richard Wei


Depictions of pre-Contact Hawaiian complex societies are framed in self-sufficient small land units (Ahupua‘a) that minimised the occurrence of long-distance commodity exchange and chiefly redistributive networks. We test the Ahupua‘a model by using non-destructive Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) to source 955 basalt flakes and cores recovered from Kahalu‘u Habitation Cave in the Kona district (~AD 1600–1800). Findings suggest that less than 7% of the basalt debitage was obtained from local sources.


Archaeology; Oceania; Craft Specialisation; Exchange; Hawaii

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ISSN (print) 1179 4704; ISSN (online) 1179 4712
Published with the assistance of the Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, University of Otago.
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