Diachronic Design Changes in Heiau Temple Architecture on the Island of Maui, Hawai'i

Date
1992
Authors
Kolb, Michael J.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Abstract
The archaeological and historical record of ceremonial architecture in the Hawaiian Islands is examined. The purpose is to describe and explain diachronic change in the design of heiau temples using historic documents, ethnographic and archaeological research, and in particular, analysis ofl08 heiau temples built between A.D. 1200 and A.D. 1800 on the island of Maui. Results indicate that ancient Hawaiian architects employed a series of design systems to produce a wide array of temple morphological variation. A diachronic model of heiau architecture, which states that simple structures such as terraces predate more complex structures such as platforms, is developed based upon existing stratigraphic and chronological data recovered from heiau foundations. This model is tested by examining the distribution of temple types on the island of Maui. Certain design elements, such as terraces and walls of stacked construction, cluster in windward regions-the initial areas of dense occupation according to the current model of island settlement. As Hawaiian society grew more complex, so did temple architectural design, with six-sided, notched shaping, platforms, and walls of corefilled construction. These elements were found to cluster in leeward regions of Maui, areas thought to have been densely settled relatively late in Hawaiian history. Heiau size, however, was found not to vary through space and may even decrease after A.D. 1600. KEYWORDS: Chiefdoms, Heiau, Hawai'i, Maui, Monumental Architecture, Style.
Description
Keywords
Chiefdoms, Heiau, Hawai'i, Maui, Monumental Architecture, Style
Citation
Kolb, M. J. 1992. Diachronic Design Changes in Heiau Temple Architecture on the Island of Maui, Hawai'i. Asian Perspectives 31 (1): 9-37.
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