Conflict and state development in ancient Tonga: The Lapaha Earth Fort

Clark, Geoffrey, Parton, Phillip, Reepmeyer, Christian, Melekiola, Nivaleti, and Burley, David (2018) Conflict and state development in ancient Tonga: The Lapaha Earth Fort. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, 13 (3). pp. 405-419.

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Warfare is often considered as a key factor in the formation complex societies, but in the Pacific archaeological evidence for inter-group conflict during political centralization is rare. Most earthwork forts in Tonga are assumed to have been built in the nineteenth century when the traditional system of rulership collapsed, yet few forts on Tongatapu have been excavated or 14C dated. A fort in the chiefly center of the ancient Tongan state was mapped with theodolite and LiDAR, and excavated. Radiocarbon and traditional history indicate the fort known as the Lapaha Kolotau was made in the fourteenth century AD at the same time that chiefly architecture was being built at an unprecedented scale at the new elite center. The construction of an earthwork fort provides the first evidence that political centralization in Tonga was likely to have been contested.

Item ID: 49510
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1556-1828
Keywords: warfare; earthworks; Pacific; state development
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC grant FT0990591, ARC gratnt DP160103778
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2017 04:46
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4513 Pacific Peoples culture, language and history > 451301 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl. New Zealand) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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