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Visibility analysis of Oahu Heiau

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Item Summary

Title: Visibility analysis of Oahu Heiau
Authors: Lyman, Kailikepaokamoana James
Keywords: heiau
intervisibility
viewshed analysis
Issue Date: May 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2012]
Abstract: The English missionary William Ellis made an evangelical circuit of Hawaii Island in 1823. In the northern district of Kohala he observed the ruins of the heiau Pu`ukohala. He wrote: Although the huge pile resembles a dismantled fortress, whose frown no longer strikes terror through the surrounding country, yet it is impossible to walk over such a Golgotha, or contemplate a spot which must often have resembled a pandemonium, more than any living thing on earth, without a strong feeling of horror at the recollection of the bloody and infernal rites frequently practised within its walls.
Pu`ukohala was the major heiau of Kamehameha, who constructed the massive structure before launching his conquest of the Hawaiian Islands. Heiau feature prominently in ethnohistoric accounts of warfare and political struggle. Ellis recorded the sacrificial rites performed at Pu`ukohala: Tairi, or Kukairimoku, the favourite war-god of Tamehameha, was the principal idol. To him the heiau was dedicated, and for his occasional residence it was built. On the day in which he was brought within its precincts, vast offerings of fruit, hogs, and dogs, were presented, and no less than eleven human victims immolated on its altars (82).
The ritual of human sacrifice was introduced to Hawaii in the 12th century and became common at war heiau such as Pu`ukohala. In time, heiau of this design emerged as the major symbol of elite power and control. They were often of monumental construction and located on the crests of hills, sea promontories, and other topographically commanding and visually prominent locations.
Heiau relied on their visibility to project power over the common people or maka`ainana-literally, the "eyes of the land." A spatial and statistical analysis is proposed to quantify the visibility of known heiau locations on the island of Oahu. This process relies on a spatial dataset assembled from a wide range of sources.
Description: M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/101266
Appears in Collections:M.A. - Geography



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