The ancient royal tombs of Lapaha: community and world heritage

Clark, Geoffrey, Reepmeyer, Christian, and Melekiola, Nivaleti (2012) The ancient royal tombs of Lapaha: community and world heritage. In: Smith, Anita, (ed.) World Heritage in a Sea of Islands: Pacific 2009 programme. World Heritage Papers, 34 . UNESCO, Paris, France, pp. 74-77.

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Lapaha is a village community of around 2200 people in the Hahake (eastern) district of Tongatapu in the Kingdom of Tonga. It is the location of an ancient royal dynasty headed by the holder of the paramount Tu’i Tonga title, which held political authority over the dispersed islands of the Tonga Group during the 2nd millennium AD and influenced other parts of the Pacific such as Samoa, east Fiji and Wallis/’Uvea Island. The royal tombs of the Tu’i Tonga were included on Tonga’s Tentative List in 2007, and this paper outlines community involvement in the cultural heritage of Lapaha including recent progress on the nomination of the ancient burial structures to the World Heritage List. Community management of Lapaha’s heritage sites is central to their preservation with continuing use of the ancient tombs for burial of senior title holders involving ceremony and ritual dating to the Tu’i Tonga chiefdom. The traditional burial practices demonstrate the continuing cultural significance of the royal tombs to Tongan society, which is strongly hierarchical and consists of kings, chiefs and commoners. The tombs are also emblematic of the ancient Tongan kingdom that was the only Pacific society to extend significantly to other archipelagos and islands.

Item ID: 39114
Item Type: Book Chapter (Scholarly Work)
ISBN: 978-982-225-016-9
Keywords: Pacific world heritage; Tonga; monuments
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2017 03:14
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210106 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl New Zealand) @ 50%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2102 Curatorial and Related Studies > 210202 Heritage and Cultural Conservation @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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