Lithic Economies and Self-Sufficiency: Stone Tool Production and Consumption in a Late Prehistoric Community of Moloka’i, Hawaii

01st December 2007

Angela Spitzer

BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, October 2006

This study examines the inter- and intra-site assemblage variability of lithics excavated from six late prehistoric sites in leeward West Moloka’i, Hawaii. Both religious and domestic sites are represented including fishing shrines (ko’a) and a high-status house site. A comprehensive technological approach was employed integrating use-wear, typology and individual flake attribute analysis to identify production and consumption behaviours. Expedient tool manufacture and use was identified at most sites including the use of amorphous cores for flake tool production.

Of particular significance was the identification of late stage, small-scale adze manufacture within an attached shrine enclosure of a high status house site. The proximity of the debitage to the religious feature is evidence of ritual production. Small-scale adze production in such settings may have enabled individuals and/or households to gain status and wealth through ritual performance and the production of prestige goods. This has implications for the study of the organisation of adze production and craft specialisation and suggests that ritual production is not necessarily an indicator of chiefly control.

Angela Spitzer
Lithic Economies and Self-Sufficiency: Stone Tool Production and Consumption in a Late Prehistoric Community of Moloka’i, Hawaii
December 2007
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Thesis Abstracts
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