Digging Up The Past: A sacred Hawaiian site remains buried under mud and bureaucracy—but one group is working tirelessly to uncover it
Shirley Kaha’i gets very upset when people say the preservation project at Moku’ula is taking too long. Sitting behind her desk in the modest Friends of Moku’ula offices at 505 Front Street, the executive director gestures to her bookshelf. “Look at all these binders, these reports and these volumes of papers. We are here every day moving the project forward.” Kaha’i admits the process can be discouraging, but wading through red tape takes time. “The last three years my focus has been to get activity out there,” says Kaha’i. “It took 18 months to get permission from the burial council.”
The project, restoration of the ancient island of Moku’ula and the surrounding wetlands, was set in motion more than 20 years ago when Friends of Moku’ula founder Akoni Akana was encouraged by Mike White of Kaanapali Beach Hotel (now a County Councilmember) to do something about the almost-forgotten historical site. Read more.
HONOLULU — The Navy says an archaeologist is monitoring Pearl Harbor land it plans to develop to see if any Native Hawaiian remains and artifacts might be buried there.
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii said Thursday its first staff archaeologist, Jeff Pantaleo, is leading the monitoring which began earlier this week.
The State Historic Preservation Office has designated site at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as critical for Native Hawaiian remains and artifacts. This means the Navy needs to sample soil to determine that new construction won’t disturb anything buried at the location.
Pantaleo says there’s a delicate balance between preserving Native Hawaiian culture and fulfilling the Navy’s mission. He says it’s manageable if you have the right information and can communicate well with both parties. (source)
The original settlers of Polynesia migrated through South-East Asia and Indonesia across Melanesia, before settling the Polynesian islands beginning in 1000 BC. Hawaii was one of the last island groups to be settled. Archaeological evidence indicates the first Polynesians arrived in Hawaii from the Marquesas between 500 and 700 AD. Hawaii has often been thought of as an earthly paradise. Still people must live and eat. A pattern of earthen berms, spread across a northern peninsula of the big island of Hawaii, is providing archeologists with clues to exactly how residents farmed in paradise long before Europeans arrived at the islands. Read more.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A pattern of earthen berms, spread across a northern peninsula of the big island of Hawaii, is providing archeologists with clues to exactly how residents farmed in paradise long before Europeans arrived at the islands.
The findings suggest that simple, practical decisions made by individual households were eventually adopted by the ruling class as a means to improve agricultural productivity.
“Archeologically, this kind of research is really hard to do in most places since there is rarely a ‘signature’ for the agricultural activity, or a strong connection between the remains of a house and a plot of farmland,” explained, Julie Field, an assistant professor of anthropology at Ohio State University. Read more.
More than a decade after it was set aside for preservation, a 20-acre site at Palauea could be transformed into a “living classroom” on Hawaiian culture, archaeology and agriculture under a proposal by the University of Hawaii Maui College.
Archaeologists believe the parcel was once part of a major South Maui Hawaiian settlement that contained an important water source, a heiau complex and other ancient sites. The site was designated a cultural preserve as a condition of the 2000 special management area and project district approvals for the One Palauea Bay subdivision, and the developers have long proposed transferring the parcel to the University of Hawaii.
Now UH-MC officials are gathering public comments on a plan to take over the site, in advance of presenting a formal proposal to the UH Board of Regents for approval.
"It’s ancient," said Kiope Raymond, associate professor of Hawaiian Studies at UH-MC. "It was a very thriving community of Hawaiians, and much of that has been obliterated, unfortunately, over time, with the build-outs of the resort developments." Read more.