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400 Years of History and Cross-cultural Interactions in a Ritually Mounded Landscape of South Tanna, Vanuatu

Author(s): James Flexner

Year: 2017

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Summary

A mounded landscape in south Vanuatu provides archaeological evidence relating to chiefly performance, voyaging, and ritual transformation during a period of cross-cultural contacts spanning 400 years or more. The site of Kwaraka is located at the southern end of Tanna Island. The area has a view on clear days of the neighbouring islands Futuna and Aniwa, and there is ethnohistoric evidence of long-term patterns of interaction between Tannese people and the people of these nearby islands. Kwaraka is somewhat unique on Tanna for its large-scale stone constructions, which are rare elsewhere on the island, though common on Futuna and Aneityum. The site is also notable as the location where the first Christian missionaries, recent Samoan converts settled in the 1850s. This arrival brought about a new wave of mound construction, this time in the form of house mounds built by the ritual specialists. The Kwaraka mounds provide interesting material for thinking about long-term patterns of communal rituals, including feasting, exchange, and magical practices on Tanna.


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Cite this Record

400 Years of History and Cross-cultural Interactions in a Ritually Mounded Landscape of South Tanna, Vanuatu. James Flexner. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429672)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Oceania


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 13203

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America