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Abstract

The recent paper by Kahn and Coil (2006) published data on intra-site variation in late prehistoric Society Island house structures, focusing on the raw materials used to fashion house posts. Variation in the woods used to construct posts differed both by site function and socioeconomic status of the occupant . House sites serving as elite dwellings or those used for specialized, ritual activities were constructed from ritually charged and economically valued tree species, while lower status sleeping houses were made from common tree species that lacked ritual or cosmological association. This pattern was linked to the creation of sacred spaces on the landscape for a well-defined ritual and social elite who controlled many key aspects of agricultural production and the ritual calendar in the late prehistoric Society Island chiefdoms.

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