The Wet and the Dry: Irrigation and Agricultural Intensification in Polynesia
Scholars and researchers have long believed that the ability to irrigate is crucial to the development of civilizations. In this book, archaeologist Patrick Kirch challenges this "hydraulic hypothesis" and provides a more accurate and detailed account of the role of "wet" and "dry" cultivation systems in the development of complex sociopolitical structures.
Examining research on cultural adaptation and ecology in Western Polynesia and utilizing extensive data from a variety of important South Pacific sites, Kirch not only reveals how particular systems of production developed within the constraints imposed by environmental conditions, but also explores the tension that arises between contrasting productive systems with differential abilities to produce surplus. He shows that the near total neglect of short-fallow dryland cultivation, as well as arboriculture, or tree-cropping, has seriously distorted the picture that archaeologists and anthropologists have of agricultural intensification and its relation to complex social structure.
This work, likely to become a classic, will be central to all future discussions of the ecology and politics of agricultural intensification.
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agricultural intensification agricultural system agronomic alata alluvial Alocasia Alofi Island arboricultural archaeological aroids Asipani Asoa bananas barkcloth Barrau breadfruit Burrows canal Chanel chap chiefdom chiefs clones coconut Colocasia complex contrast cookhouse corms crops cultigens cultural cycle cyclones Dioscorea dominant dry season dryland field earth oven environmental esculenta ethnographic excavation fallow feasts field systems Figure forest Frimigacci Futuna and Alofi Futunan Futunan agricultural gardens harvesting Hawaii Hawaiian intensive irrigation irrigation systems kaiga katoaga kava Kirch kutuga labor Lalotilo land landscape Lapita Leava makatea malae Mangaia mata'ilava mouku Nuku Nuku telega Nuku Village period pigs planting political Polynesian pondfield pondfield irrigation population prehistoric ridges ritual Rozier Sahlins Sausau Valley shifting cultivation Sigave Sigave and Alo slopes social soil species stream swidden ta'u talo taro taro irrigation Tavai telega terraces Tikopia tion toafa traditional tubers umaga vegetation volcanic vusiga wealth yield zone