Unearthing the Polynesian Past: Explorations and Adventures of an Island Archaeologist

KirchBookby Patrick Vinton Kirch
University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015

In this memoir, archaeologist Patrick Vinton Kirch describes his fieldwork in over two dozen islands in the Pacific.

Kirch started out as an intern under Bishop Museum zoologist Yoshio Kondo and took part in archaeological digs on the islands of Hawai‘i and Maui. During his high school years at Punahou, he apprenticed with eminent archaeologist Kenneth Emory. After Kirch obtained his anthropology degree from the University of Pennsylvania, he joined a Bishop Museum expedition to Anuta Island, where a traditional Polynesian culture still flourished. He went on to earn his doctorate at Yale University with a study of the traditional irrigation-based chiefdoms of Futuna Island. Since then, Kirch has worked with ecologists, soil scientists, and paleontologists to explain how Polynesians adapted to and altered their island ecosystems.

In Unearthing the Polynesian Past, Kirch reflects on how archaeological methods have advanced and how knowledge of the Polynesian past has developed. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Patrick Vinton Kirch is Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley.

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