Taking the High Ground

Taking the High Ground

The archaeology of Rapa, a fortified island in remote East Polynesia

Edited by: Atholl Anderson, Douglas J. Kennett

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This volume brings the remote and little known island of Rapa firmly to the forefront of Polynesian archaeology. Thirteen authors contribute 14 chapters, covering not only the basic archaeology of coastal sites, rock shelters, and fortifications, but faunal remains, agricultural development, and marine exploitation. The results, presented within a chronology framed by Bayesian analysis, are set against a background of ethnohistory and ethnology. Highly unusual in tropical Polynesian archaeology are descriptions of artefacts of perishable material. Taking the High Ground provides important insights into how a group of Polynesian settlers adapted to an isolated and in some ways restrictive environment.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Nov 2012
Terra Australis 37
ANU Press
Terra Australis
Arts & Humanities: Archaeology; Social Sciences: Anthropology

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Taking the High Ground »

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  1. Archaeological research on Rapa Island, French Polynesia (PDF, 4.7MB) – Atholl Anderson, Douglas J. Kennett and Eric Conte doi
  2. ‘Dwelling carelessly, quiet and secure’: A brief ethnohistory of Rapa Island, French Polynesia, AD 1791–1840 (PDF, 784KB) – Atholl Anderson doi
  3. Archaeology of the coastal sites on Rapa Island (PDF, 6.0MB) – Atholl Anderson doi
  4. The archaeobotany of Rapan rockshelter deposits (PDF, 1.7MB) – Matiu Prebble and Atholl Anderson doi
  5. Cordage from Rapan archaeological sites (PDF, 481KB) – Judith Cameron doi
  6. Bird, reptile and mammal remains from archaeological sites on Rapa Island (PDF, 195KB) – Alan J. D. Tennyson and Atholl Anderson doi
  7. Prehistoric fishing on Rapa Island (PDF, 573KB) – Yolanda Vogel and Atholl Anderson doi
  8. The Tangarutu invertebrate fauna (PDF, 641KB) – Katherine Szabó and Atholl Anderson doi
  9. Marine resource exploitation on Rapa Island: Archaeology, material culture and ethnography (PDF, 1.1MB) – Katherine Szabó, Yolanda Vogel and Atholl Anderson doi
  10. Palaeobotany and the early development of agriculture on Rapa Island (PDF, 2.2MB) – Matiu Prebble and Atholl Anderson doi
  11. A Bayesian AMS 14C chronology for the colonisation and fortification of Rapa Island (PDF, 1.4MB) – Douglas J. Kennett, Brendan J. Culleton, Atholl Anderson and John Southon doi
  12. The archaeology of Rapan fortifications (PDF, 7.9MB) – Douglas J. Kennett and Sarah B. McClure doi
  13. Rapan agroecology and population estimates (PDF, 906KB) – Jacob Bartruff, Douglas J. Kennett and Bruce Winterhalder doi
  14. The prehistory of Rapa Island (PDF, 144KB) – Atholl Anderson, Douglas J. Kennett and Eric Conte doi

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