Current Perspectives on Hawai‘i’s Stone Tool Economies

  • Peter Mills University of Otago
  • Steven Lundblad
Keywords: exchange, archaic states, adzes, XRF, sourcing, basalt, volcanic glass, Hawai‘i


Patrick Kirch’s publication of Feathered Gods and Fishhooks in 1985 emphasized the value of sourcing stone tools to delineate precontact interaction spheres and the evolution of social complexity in Hawai‘i. Throughout the 1990s, however, published sourcing studies included just over 200 specimens, limiting our ability to generate well-substantiated conclusions related to stone tool production over nearly a millennium of Hawaiian prehistory. Recent geochemically based analyses of archaeological basalt and volcanic glass in Hawai‘i include over 21,000 samples of basalt and volcanic glass. We present a review of this expansive data set. Findings point to regionally divergent patterns in production and distribution, and other basalt sources that could rival the well-known Mauna Kea Adze Quarry in their extent of interisland distribution.
How to Cite
Mills, P. and Lundblad, S. (2014) “Current Perspectives on Hawai‘i’s Stone Tool Economies”, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 5(2), pp. 30-39. Available at: (Accessed: 23July2019).