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Cultural Dynamics and the Ritual Role of Woods in Pre-Contact Hawai'i

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Title:Cultural Dynamics and the Ritual Role of Woods in Pre-Contact Hawai'i
Authors:Kolb, Michael J.
Murakami, Gail M.
charcoal identification
complex societies
show 1 moremonumental architecture
show less
LC Subject Headings:Prehistoric peoples--Asia--Periodicals.
Prehistoric peoples--Oceania--Periodicals.
East Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Date Issued:1994
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Citation:Kolb, M. J., and G. M. Murakami. 1994. Cultural Dynamics and the Ritual Role of Woods in Pre-Contact Hawai'i. Asian Perspectives 33 (1): 57-78.
Series:Volume 33
Number 1
Abstract:Although primarily used for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, wood charcoal identification is ideal for the study of cultural dynamics if viewed as a class of material culture that actively reflects choices concerning domestic practices, ideology and ritualization, and political relationships. Archaeological evidence of ritual wood use from two temples in pre-Contact Hawai'i, supplemented with ethnohistoric data about traditional wood use, provides a test case that uses of woods underwent significant social transformations between A.D. 1400-1820. Variation wood use from these two sites demonstrates how the biological environment be imbued with cultural meanings, meanings that in turn illuminate how elite political and ritual strategies interact with a society's biological environment and ecological landscape. We propose that as a class of palaeoethnobotanical data, woods can be imbued with significant cultural value that can be used to track important shifts in cultural change and inform archaeologists about past social and political systems. KEYWORDS: palaeoethnobotany, charcoal identification, ideology, complex societies, Hawai'i, monumental architecture.
ISSN:1535-8283 (E-ISSN)
0066-8435 (Print)
Appears in Collections: Asian Perspectives, 1994 - Volume 33, Number 1 (Spring)

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