Preliminary Investigations at Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Author(s): Hinanui Cauchois; John O'Connor

Year: 2017


The Society Islands are of primary importance for understanding human impacts on island ecologies and the dispersal of pre-contact voyaging populations in East Polynesia. Raiatea, the largest island of the Leeward Group, is recognized through Polynesian oral traditions as a locus of regional interaction and a departure point for migrations that colonized the distant islands of Hawaii and Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the second millennium AD. Here we present results from our first season of fieldwork in the district of Tumaraa, western Raiatea. Subsurface testing has provided a stratigraphic profile for coastal flats and offshore islets (motu). Excavations at the megalithic Marae Tainuu revealed evidence of a substantial occupation history, with the exposure of early architecture, a dense deposit of subsistence remains, and evidence for the manufacture and use of lithic tools. Long-term project goals include a detailed analysis of the historical ecology of Tumaraa from which to situate this region in the broader context of East Polynesian settlement history and examine the impacts of human activity on coastal and offshore environments.

Cite this Record

Preliminary Investigations at Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia. Hinanui Cauchois, John O'Connor. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430079)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15569