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Tracing the origins of the Hawaiians and other Polynesians back to the shores of the South China Sea, archaeologist Patrick Vinton Kirch follows their voyages of discovery across the Pacific in this fascinating history of Hawaiian culture from about one thousand years ago. Combining more than four decades of his own research with Native Hawaiian oral traditions and the evidence of archaeology, Kirch puts a human face on the gradual rise to power of the Hawaiian god-kings, who by the late eighteenth century were locked in a series of wars for ultimate control of the entire archipelago. This lively, accessible chronicle works back from Captain James Cook’s encounter with the pristine kingdom in 1778, when the British explorers encountered an island civilization governed by rulers who could not be gazed upon by common people. Interweaving anecdotes from his own widespread travel and extensive archaeological investigations into the broader historical narrative, Kirch shows how the early Polynesian settlers of Hawai'i adapted to this new island landscape and created highly productive agricultural systems.
Oceania was the last region on earth to be permanently inhabited, with the final settlers reaching Aotearoa/New Zealand approximately AD 1300. This is about the same time that related Polynesian populations began erecting Easter Island's gigantic statues, farming the valley slopes of Tahiti and similar islands, and moving finely made basalt tools over several thousand kilometers of open ocean between Hawai'i, the Marquesas, the Cook Islands, and archipelagos in between. The remarkable prehistory of Polynesia is one chapter of Oceania's human story. Almost 50,000 years prior, people entered Oceania for the first time, arriving in New Guinea and its northern offshore islands shortly thereafter, a biogeographic region labelled Near Oceania and including parts of Melanesia. Near Oceania saw the independent development of agriculture and has a complex history resulting in the greatest linguistic diversity in the world. Beginning 1000 BC, after millennia of gradually accelerating cultural change in Near Oceania, some groups sailed east from this space of inter-visible islands and entered Remote Oceania, rapidly colonizing the widely separated separated archipelagos from Vanuatu to S?moa with purposeful, return voyages, and carrying an intricately decorated pottery called Lapita. From this common cultural foundation these populations developed separate, but occasionally connected, cultural traditions over the next 3000 years. Western Micronesia, the archipelagos of Palau, Guam and the Marianas, was also colonized around 1500 BC by canoes arriving from the west, beginning equally long sequences of increasingly complex social formations, exchange relationships and monumental constructions. All of these topics and others are presented in The Oxford Handbook of Prehistoric Oceania written by Oceania's leading archaeologists and allied researchers. Chapters describe the cultural sequences of the region's major island groups, provide the most recent explanations for diversity and change in Oceanic prehistory, and lay the foundation for the next generation of research.
The Pacific Ocean covers one-third of the earth’s surface and encompasses many thousands of islands that are home to numerous human societies and cultures. Among these indigenous Oceanic cultures are the intrepid Polynesian double-hulled canoe navigators, the atoll dwellers of Micronesia, the statue carvers of remote Easter Island, and the famed traders of Melanesia. Decades of archaeological excavations—combined with allied research in historical linguistics, biological anthropology, and comparative ethnography—have revealed much new information about the long-term history of these societies and cultures. On the Road of the Winds synthesizes the grand sweep of human history in the Pacific Islands, beginning with the movement of early people out from Asia more than 40,000 years ago and tracing the development of myriad indigenous cultures up to the time of European contact in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. This updated edition, enhanced with many new illustrations and an extensive bibliography, synthesizes the latest archaeological, linguistic, and biological discoveries that reveal the vastness of ancient history in the Pacific Islands.
This is a narrative account of a long-term archaeological research in Maui led by the author and his colleagues. Readers are introduced to the world of ancient Hawaiians who lived in the district of Kahikinui on the western side of Maui. The narrative covers archaeological findings such as dating of found objects and their significances but also the stories of present time Native Hawaiians who have chosen to live in the area in spite of the lack of moderns conveniences.

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