The View from Rapa: Behavioral Ecology and Fortifications in Polynesia

Author(s): Brian Lane

Year: 2015


Fortifications are found in the archaeological record around the world. Studies of fortifications on the landscape tend to focus on aspects of human territoriality, especially in relation to conflict, economics, and resources. This paper takes a Human Behavioral Ecology approach to territoriality and applies the use of viewsheds, as derived from a GIS database, to the examination of a central resource. Rapa, Austral Islands, French Polynesia, is often cited as a classic example of an island that was divided by territorial groups, as exemplified by the prominent fortified hilltop villages (pare). Enough work has been conducted on Rapa to provide an understanding of the islands culture history, and new geographic data are available that allows for expanded investigations. The objective of this paper is to quantitatively test the relationship between pare and the visibility of the most likely resource linked to territorial behavior, irrigated agricultural terrace systems. This work utilizes methods similar to those used in previous work in Fiji in order to test the strength of relationship between views between fortification and views of resource areas (Smith & Cochrane 2011).

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Cite this Record

The View from Rapa: Behavioral Ecology and Fortifications in Polynesia. Brian Lane. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396318)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;