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Concentrating their attention on the Pacific Islands, the contributors to this book show how the tightly focused social and economic systems of islands offer archaeologists a series of unique opportunities for tracking and explaining prehistoric change. From the 1950s onwards, excavations in such islands as Fiji, Palau and Hawaii revolutionised Oceanic archaeology and, as the major problems of cultural origins and island sequences were resolves, archaeologists came increasingly to study social change and to integrate newly acquired data on material culture with older ethnographic and ethnohistorical materials. The fascinating results of this work, centring on the evolution of complex Oceanic chiefdoms into something very much like classic 'archaic states', are authoritatively surveyed here.
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