Small Islands and Hinterlands: Exploring Scale and the Sāmoan Archipelago

Author(s): Seth Quintus

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Rethinking Hinterlands in Polynesia" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The concept of a "hinterland" is a tool. As such, the concept is only beneficial if it can help us understand human behavior or the archaeological record better than alternatives. Recent research has shown that it can be usefully applied in Polynesia, but its application is geographically and substantively limited. This paper will explore the use of the concept to understand social relationships and the archaeological record of the Sāmoan archipelago. The Sāmoan archipelago is one of the largest in Polynesia and occupies a culturally and geographically transitional location. It also features significant environmental variation that results in behavioral variation throughout time and space. Such variation is, in some ways, relates to complex socio-political changes that resulted in the movement of power, according to oral tradition, from one side of the archipelago to the other. That shift in power no doubt had implications for how human populations lived and what materials they created and left behind, but I argue that the use of the hinterland concept in this circumstance is only helpful with recognition of scale. In other words, the hinterland concept is useful to the extent that we address hierarchies of spatial and temporal scales.

Cite this Record

Small Islands and Hinterlands: Exploring Scale and the Sāmoan Archipelago. Seth Quintus. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451390)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 117.598; min lat: -29.229 ; max long: -75.41; max lat: 53.12 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23599