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Making Sense of Monumentality: A Multisensory Archaeological Approach to Hawaiian Ritual Architecture

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Item Summary

Title: Making Sense of Monumentality: A Multisensory Archaeological Approach to Hawaiian Ritual Architecture
Authors: Stephen, Jesse
Keywords: Archaeology
monumental architecture
Issue Date: Aug 2016
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2016]
Abstract: Both archaeological and ethnohistoric records reflect the vital importance of monuments known as heiau within Hawaiian society prior to the abolishment of the traditional religious system in AD 1819. With notable variety in both form and function, Hawaiian elites built and used heiau to realize both singular (e.g., initiation of war) and cyclical (e.g., seasonal sacrificial offerings) ends. Earlier scholars have investigated heiau extensively, with archaeologists recording and studying the material dimensions of their extant physical remains (e.g., construction materials, location, size, chronology), ethnohistorians writing about the myriad rites and rituals associated with their construction and use in ancient times, and cultural practitioners considering their significance in contemporary society for the past, present, and future. This dissertation examines a specific class of ancient Hawaiian monumental architecture—known as a luakini heiau—in the context of chiefly authority, with a specific interest on how such places impacted ancient Hawaiian populations via the senses. Monumentality and its experience through sight, smell, taste, touch, and feel are used to underwrite a multisensory survey of a particular Hawaiian luakini heiau known as Pu'ukoholā, significant for its important role as an instrument of power in King Kamehameha I's unprecedented rise to power during the late 18th century. While previous research has highlighted the unparalleled material, historical, and cultural significance of Puʻukoholā, only lightly have these aspects been considered as interrelated and in the terms of the senses. The collection and analysis of the archaeological, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic data under the lens of sensory archaeology reconsiders the multifaceted impact of the heiau on the senses, and reveals an indivisible and historically contingent entity that encompassed—but also surpassed—its constituents and in doing so catalyzed society itself.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Anthropology

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