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How Chiefs Became Kings – Divine Kingship and the Rise of Archaic States in Ancient Hawai'i - California Scholarship Online
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How Chiefs Became Kings: Divine Kingship and the Rise of Archaic States in Ancient Hawai'i

Patrick Vinton Kirch


This book addresses a central problem in anthropological archaeology—the emergence of “archaic states,” whose distinctive feature was divine kingship—taking as its focus the Hawaiian archipelago, commonly regarded as the archetype of a complex chiefdom. Integrating anthropology, linguistics, archaeology, traditional history, and theory, and drawing on significant contributions from four decades of research, it argues that Hawaiian polities had become states before the time of Captain Cook's voyage (1778–1779). The status of most archaic states is inferred from the archaeological record, but th ... More

Keywords: archaic states, divine kinship, Hawaiian archipelago, Hawaiian polities, Captain Cook, sociopolitical evolution

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780520267251
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520267251.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Patrick Vinton Kirch, author