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Settlement Chronologies and Shifting Resource Exploitation in Ka‘ū District, Hawaiian Islands

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Title:Settlement Chronologies and Shifting Resource Exploitation in Ka‘ū District, Hawaiian Islands
Authors:Kahn, Jennifer G.
Lundblad, Steven P.
Mills, Peter R.
Chan, Yvonne
Longenecker, Ken
show 1 moreSinoto, Yosihiko
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Keywords:East Polynesia
Hawaiian Islands
marine resource depression
show 2 moreadze production
museum collections
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Date Issued:2016
Series:Volume 55
Number 2
Abstract:Museum collections contribute valuable information for cultural heritage, biological conservation, and the application of innovative and new methodological approaches. Collections deriving from archaeological projects in Hawai‘i serve as a case in point. Here, we report on re-analysis of two Ka‘ū District collections from Hawai‘i Island (HA-B22-64 and -248) to demonstrate what can be learned when applying new research questions to old collections. Our research goals center on two main themes: re-dating the HA-B22-64 and -248 sites to place them within the newly refined Hawaiian archipelago settlement chronology; and using diverse data sources to look at changing resource use in pre-Contact Hawai‘i through time. Our new AMS dating results indicate that the lower levels of rockshelter HA-B22-64 date to the mid- to Late Prehistoric period during the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, while upper levels calibrate to the ninteenth century. Both levels of HA-B22-248 calibrate to the late eighteenth to nineteenth centuries. In terms of resource use, Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a volcanic glass is present at both sites in small amounts, which is consistent with other sites in the South Point area. However, the high percentage of Group 3 volcanic glass is unusual for the area, and represents the highest percentage for the Kona side of Hawai‘i Island. HA-B22-64 has a small number of basalt artifacts consistent with the Keahua I source on Kaua‘i, while both sites have evidence for artifacts produced from the Mauna Kea quarry. Technological data from our basalt assemblages do not support direct access to the Mauna Kea quarry nor the presence of adze specialists in Ka‘ū households; rather, we find rejuvenation and use of already finished adzes. Measurements on Scarine oral and pharyngeal jawbones illustrate a consistent and stable size structure of fish populations at both sites. This, along with the large overall fish size, is indicative of sustainable fishing practices.
ISSN:0066-8435 (Print)
1535-8283 (E-ISSN)
Appears in Collections: Asian Perspectives, 2016 - Volume 55, Number 2 (Fall)

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