Morphological Variability and Temporal Patterning in Marquesan Domestic Architecture: Anaho Valley in Regional Context

Allen, Melinda S.
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University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Marquesan domestic architecture, including stone pavements, platforms, and terraces, potentially provides a useful case study into how varied social and natural processes might influence structure morphology. However, despite the prominent role that domestic architecture has played in the archipelago’s traditional cultural historical sequence, only a few isolated examples have been directly dated. This analysis provides the first absolute chronology of Marquesan house foundations, along with an alternative classification scheme of formal morphology, and a protocol for dating these relatively simple architectural features. A suite of 33 radiometric and AMS determinations from Anaho Valley, Nuku Hiva Island, place the appearance of raised house foundations in the post-1640 a.d. period, considerably later than expected on conventional archaeological wisdom. The newly established absolute chronology allows linkages with other social and natural processes to be explored. The appearance of raised domestic foundations correlates with regional evidence for the onset of wetter conditions, while further elaboration (e.g., increases in size, allen . morphological variability and temporal patterning 381 height, fac¸ade stones, and use of exotic materials) of a smaller subset of structures is suggested to be a secondary development related to changing sociopolitical conditions. Western contact may have had further influences, with introduced diseases limiting manpower for megalithic constructions, and other processes a¤ecting elite residences.
domestic architecture, sociopolitical process, climate variability, Little Ice Age, radiocarbon chronology, megalithic architecture, post-Contact depopulation, Marquesas Islands, East Polynesia
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