The Ancient Hawaiian State: Origins of a Political Society

Paperback | August 12, 2016

byRobert J. Hommon

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The well-known list of "cradles of civilization" primary states from which all modern nation states ultimately derive, has traditionally been limited to Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, China, Mesoamerica, and Andean South America. However, by drawing on archaeological and ethnohistoricalsources, Robert J. Hommon demonstrates that Polynesia, with primary states in both Hawai`i and Tonga, should be added to that list. The Ancient Hawaiian State offers a history of the ancient Hawaiians' transformation of their Polynesian chiefdoms into primary state societies. The emergence ofprimary states is one of the most revolutionary transformations in human history, and Hawai`i's metamorphosis was so profound that in some ways the contact-era Hawaiian states bear a closer resemblance to our world than to that of their closely-related Eastern Polynesian contemporaries. In contrastto the other six regions, in which states emerged in the distant, proto- or pre-literate past, the transformation of Hawaiian states is documented in an extensive body of oral traditions preserved in written form, a rich literature of early post-contact eyewitness accounts by participants andWestern visitors, as well as an extensive archaeological record. Tracing the roots and emergence of the Hawaiian states, this innovative study offers a detailed model that will advance the analysis of Polynesian political development and shed light on the nature and dynamics of primary state formation.

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The well-known list of "cradles of civilization" primary states from which all modern nation states ultimately derive, has traditionally been limited to Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, China, Mesoamerica, and Andean South America. However, by drawing on archaeological and ethnohistoricalsources, Robert J. Hommon demonstrates that...

Robert J. Hommon, (Ph.D., University of Arizona), retired archaeologist and Senior Cultural Resource Scientist for the Pacific Islands Office, National Park Service, has conducted research on seven of the eight major Hawaiian Islands focused on the cultural, social, and economic roots of the Hawaiian kingdoms' emergence.

other books by Robert J. Hommon

Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:August 12, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190499125

ISBN - 13:9780190499129

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"Robert Hommon offers us not only a comprehensive description of the ancient Hawaiian state, but a model for state emergence that draws upon a wealth of comparative data from other Polynesian societies. Hommon moves longstanding debates over the nature of Polynesian political organization to anew level of understanding." --Patrick V. Kirch, University of California, Berkeley