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Of calendars and kings: gods, temples, the Pleiades, and the development of archaic states in Hawai‘i
Date: 29 October 2014 Time: 12.00 pm
Venue: Room 305, Murphy Building (MY305)
Professor Clive Ruggles, the University of Leicester (UK)
In the Hawaiian Islands, unlike other parts of ancient Polynesia, chiefdoms became transformed into archaic states during the centuries between the end of long-distance voyaging and European contact. Archaeoastronomy, the study of beliefs and practice relating to the sky, has recently become relevant to studies of the social, political and ideological factors that contrived to bring this about. The prominent place of astronomy within religious, navigational, and calendrical traditions in the islands, as throughout Polynesia, is evident from a rich ethnohistoric record. Clive will describe his fieldwork with archaeologist Patrick V. Kirch studying the orientations of temple platforms and their connections with astronomy, the calendar, dryland agriculture and the emergence of "god-king" cults.
Clive is Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, UK. He has worked in many parts of the world and published numerous books, papers and articles on subjects ranging from prehistoric Europe and pre-Columbian America to indigenous astronomies in Africa and elsewhere. He has ongoing fieldwork projects in Peru and Polynesia and is a leading figure in the joint initiative by UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union working to promote, preserve, and protect the world's most important astronomical heritage sites.