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Environmental Change and Prehistoric Polynesian Settlement in Hawai'i

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Title:Environmental Change and Prehistoric Polynesian Settlement in Hawai'i
Authors:Athens, J Stephen
Ward, Jerome V.
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LC Subject Headings:Prehistoric peoples--Asia--Periodicals.
Prehistoric peoples--Oceania--Periodicals.
East Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Date Issued:1993
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Citation:Athens, J. S., and J. V. Ward. 1993. Environmental Change and Prehistoric Polynesian Settlement in Hawai'i. Asian Perspectives 32 (2): 205-23.
Series:Volume 32
Number 2
Abstract:Prehistoric environmental change in Hawai'i is evaluated through the analysis of sediment and pollen samples from dated cores and excavation profiles in the coastal lowlands of O'ahu. It is suggested that a lowland Pritchardia palm forest and associated species underwent rapid decline starting between about A.D. 1000 to 1200. This decline seems to have occurred earlier in coastal areas than in inland areas. By the time of Western contact in A.D. 1778 the native palm forest community had all but disappeared. Though prehistoric Polynesians are implicated in the decline, the actual mechanism remains to be demonstrated. The question of coastal infilling and progradation is also considered. Sea level change appears to be the overwhelming controlling variable. It is concluded that prehistoric Polynesians had little if anything to do with large-scale geomorphological alteration of the landscape, which has been a continuing process throughout the Holocene. KEYWORDS: paleoenvironment, Hawai'i, prehistory, impacts, vegetation, geomorphology, Holocene.
ISSN:1535-8283 (E-ISSN)
0066-8435 (Print)
Appears in Collections: Asian Perspectives, 1993 - Volume 32, Number 2 (Fall)

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