The Field of War: LiDAR identification of earthwork defences on Tongatapu Island, Kingdom of Tonga

Parton, Phillip, Clark, Geoffrey, Reepmeyer, Christian, and Burley, David (2018) The Field of War: LiDAR identification of earthwork defences on Tongatapu Island, Kingdom of Tonga. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 9 (1). pp. 11-24.

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Abstract

Warfare and conflict are associated with complex societies in Polynesia where competition and coercion were common in island chiefdoms. In prehistoric Oceania, Tonga was unique for an Archaic state that under the Tu‘i Tonga dynasty established control over an entire archipelago from AD 1200 to AD 1799 prior to a prolonged period of warfare. Lidar data was used to identify earthwork fortifications over the entirety of Tongatapu and to examine the conflict landscape using lidar-derived attributes in tandem with archaeological and historical information. The distribution of earthwork defences indicates a complex history of conflict and political machinations across Tongatapu beginning with the Tu‘i Tonga chiefs at Lapaha, but resulting in a mid-19th century civil war ending with a new royal dynasty. Fortifications offer important evidence of social-political change, and the heritage condition of earthwork defences, many of which are under threat from development, was assessed with lidar.

Item ID: 52693
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1179-4712
Keywords: fortifications, lidar, warfare, Pacific, Tonga, state development
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP160103778
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2018 23:26
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210106 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl New Zealand) @ 80%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 20%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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