Publication date: July 2016
Source:Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 71
Author(s): Thomas S. Dye
The tempo plot, a statistical graphic designed for the archaeological study of rhythms of the long term that embodies a theory of archaeological evidence for the occurrence of events, is introduced. The graphic summarizes the tempo of change in the occurrence of archaeological events using the model states generated by the Markov Chain Monte Carlo routine at the heart of Bayesian calibration software. Tempo plots are applied to the archaeological record of Hawai‘i to expose rhythms of i) tradition in taro pond-field construction, ii) innovation in temple construction, and iii) fashion in the harvest of branch coral for use as a religious offering. Rhythms of the long term identify a hitherto unrecognized transformation of religious practice in Hawai‘i, establish temporal coincidence in temple construction in leeward sections of Maui and Hawai‘i Islands previously described as regionally idiosyncratic, suggest shallow temporal limits to the use of the direct historical approach in Hawai‘i, and disclose processes at work in the political economy recorded at the time of western Contact.