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The place of the land and the seat of the ancestors: Temporal and geographical emergence of the classic East Polynesian marae complex
Gotland University, School of Culture, Energy and Environment.
Kon-Tiki Museum.
2011 (English)In: Kon-Tiki Museum. Occasional Papers, ISSN 0802-6491, Vol. 12, 79-107 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Polynesian ritual structures emerged based upon archaeological data. Here we would like to give a first outline:

1. During the formative period of Polynesian culture one or several, as of yet, undefined ritual site(s) or structure(s) existed. It could be associated with the sleeping-house (Green 1998; Kirch 2000b) or possible be a form of oven (Carson 2002; Green and Davidson 1969; Green and Davidson 1974; Solsvik n.d.; Walter 1990; Yamaguchi 2000).

2. During the period up to AD 1400 there existed different ritual spaces on different island groups in East Polynesia.

3. The classic marae design developed on Easter Island or another Island in southeastern Polynesia between AD 1200 and AD 1300.

4.Marae complexes in the Society, Tuamotuan and Cook island groups probably originate from south-eastern Polynesia.

5. The classic West Polynesian malae complexes could be a development of the marae structures of East Polynesia, since no 14C date from such a structure predate AD 1400. However, this is a question for future research, since so little is known archaeologically of these structures. Our research described above took as its starting point our own experiences of doing archaeology on Easter Island and of making sense of the information produced by three generations of archaeologists working there. This review of research on Polynesian ritual spaces, with focus on the eastern region, strongly suggests that the classic marae-ahu complex was developed on Easter Island. If this is correct archaeologists will in the future not only need to unravel the temporal aspects of these structures, but have to pay equal attention to the various cultural processes that produced the homogeneity in ritual architecture documented by early European travelers to this area.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo, 2011. Vol. 12, 79-107 p.
Keyword [en]
Archaeology, Society Islands, Polyneisa, Marae, Ceremonial sites, Monument
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:hgo:diva-1704OAI: diva2:579351
Identity Matters: Movement and Place
Available from: 2012-12-20 Created: 2012-12-19 Last updated: 2013-07-01Bibliographically approved

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