Coral 230Th Dating of the Imposition of a Ritual Control Hierarchy in Precontact Hawaii

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Science  07 Jan 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5706, pp. 102-104
DOI: 10.1126/science.1105432

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In proto-historic Hawaii (1500–1795 A.D.), as in many other evolving polities, temples functioned as centers for control over production and the extraction of surplus food and goods. Thorium-230 dates (uncertainty ± ∼10 years) on branch coral dedicatory offerings from temples in the Kahikinui district (Maui) indicate that its temple system was constructed within 60 years, far more rapidly than indicated by radiocarbon dating. Introduction of the temple system in 1580–1640 A.D. coincided with predatory expansion and consolidation of the Maui polity to form an incipient archaic state.

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