The rapid emergence of the archaic Tongan state: The royal tomb of Paepaeotelea

Geoffrey Clark*, Christian Reepmeyer, Nivaleti Melekiola

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    New research indicates that the royal tomb Paepaeotelea was built c. AD 1300-1400, more than 200 years earlier than its traditional association with Uluakimata I, who ruled when the Tongan polity was at its greatest extent. The large and stylistically complex tomb marks a dramatic increase in the scale of mortuary structures. It represents a substantial mobilisation of labour by this early archaic state, while the geochemical signatures of stone tools associated with the tomb indicate long-distance voyaging. The evidence suggests that the early Tongan state was a powerful and geographically expansive entity, able to rapidly organise and command the resources of the scattered archipelago.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1038-1053
    Number of pages16
    Issue number352
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


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