Earth Science News  





. Radiocarbon Testing Challenges Understanding Of Ancient Hawaiian Society

An aerial view of a large war temple (Loaloa) on Maui. Credit: Courtesy Michael Kolb and Northern Illinois University.
by Staff Writers
Maui HI (SPX) Aug 02, 2006
The development of monumental architecture and social complexity on the Hawaiian island of Maui occurred over a span of at least 500 years, according to the most detailed study to date on the antiquity of the island's extensive temple system.

The findings, in the August issue of Current Anthropology, challenge previous conceptions of ancient Hawaiian civilization by identifying cycles of temple construction that coincide with politically charged periods of warfare and island consolidation.

"Because the islands are relatively isolated from the rest of the world, the development of monumental architecture and complex society in Hawaii is of keen interest to archaeologists," writes Michael Kolb (Northern Illinois University), who spent more than a decade locating and excavating temple sites.

"In many ways, Maui represents an excellent test case for state development. Its monumental architecture is directly linked to economic, political, and ritual development, not unlike the most famous early civilizations, such as the Maya or ancient Eqyptians."

Kolb conducted radiocarbon-dating analyses on samples from forty ruins on the island of Maui, including several newly discovered temples. The radiocarbon dates indicate the earliest temples were built in the 13th century, with construction continuing into the early 19th century. Prior research had indicated that Maui's temples, known as heiau, were built within a span of decades near the turn of the 17th century.

Kolb's study also identifies an important shift in temple construction from open-air temples used for ancestral worship to enclosed, more elaborate temples used for sacrificial offerings to war gods. Large temples often covered more area than a football field and stood 40 feet in height.

"The Hawaiian civilization lacked ceramics, which is typically why radiocarbon dating is relied upon by scientists," says Kolb. "Before a temple was built, the land would be set ablaze to clear it from vegetation, leaving behind charcoal remains. We also were able to gather samples for dating from the sites of ancient ovens and bonfires."

The ancient people of Maui stacked lava rocks to form the foundation of the platform temples, often built on the faces of cliffs or other high points on the island. The more elaborate, terraced temples were adorned with altars, oracle towers, offering pits, and god or ancestral images carved from wood or stone.

"Oftentimes, in a show of economic might, a conquering chief would remodel, build additions to, and rededicate a rival's temples," explains Kolb. "Many of the early structures were modified or new ones were built with enclosures on top. Access was limited to reward loyal constituents, and sacrificial worship became more of a focus."

Related Links
Northern Illinois University

Tiny Inhaled Particles Take Easy Route From Nose To Brain
Rochester NY (SPX) Aug 08, 2006
In a continuing effort to find out if the tiniest airborne particles pose a health risk, University of Rochester Medical Center scientists showed that when rats breathe in nano-sized materials they follow a rapid and efficient pathway from the nasal cavity to several regions of the brain, according to a study in the August issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • South Korean Emergency Aid Heads For North
  • New System Provides Power, Water, Refrigeration From One Source
  • Munich Re Fighting Fit For Hurricane Season After Good First Half
  • San Diego Supercomputer Team Backs Firefighters in Recent "Horse" Wildfires

  • Trees Appear To Respond Slower To Climate Change Than Previously Thought
  • Shoot Up And Cool Down
  • Cosmic Dust In Ice Cores Sheds Light On Earth's Past Climate
  • Pine Plantations May Be One Culprit In Increasing Carbon Dioxide Levels

  • MODIS Images Western Wildfires
  • CloudSat Captures Hurricane Daniel's Transformation
  • Senators Collins And Lieberman Write To Griffin Over NASA Dumping 'Mission To Earth'
  • Google Earth Impacts Science

  • DOE To Invest $250 Million In New Bioenergy Centers
  • Hybrid Solar Lighting Making Progress
  • Korean Scientist Makes Crude Oil Into Fuel
  • BP Pipeline Leak Closes Down Biggest US Oilfield

  • Einstein Researchers Find Key to Unlocking World's Deadliest Malaria Parasite
  • Human Behavior Changes The Number Of Strains Of Infectious Diseases
  • The Next Dilemma Stemming From The Global Aids Epidemic
  • Scientists Develop SARS Vaccine with Common Poultry Virus

  • Scientists Map The Flight Of The Bumblebee
  • Cat Parasite May Affect Cultural Traits In Human Populations
  • Worker Ants Store Fat To Share With Colony Members During Times Of Need
  • Evidence Of Rapid Evolution Is Found At The Tips Of Chromosomes

  • Landslides Threaten Planned Pipeline In Russia
  • At An Underwater Volcano, Evidence Of Man's Environmental Impact
  • UN calls for action after Lebanese slick spreads to Syria
  • Pipeline Leak In West Russia Could Poses Serious Threat

  • Tiny Inhaled Particles Take Easy Route From Nose To Brain
  • Radiocarbon Testing Challenges Understanding Of Ancient Hawaiian Society
  • Pure Novelty Spurs The Brain
  • Scientists Develop Artwork That Changes To Suit Your Mood

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement