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Kua'aina KahikoLife and Land in Ancient Kahikinui, Maui$
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Patrick Vinton Kirch

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839550

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839550.001.0001

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In the Land of La‘amaikahiki

(p.1) Prologue
Kua'aina Kahiko

Patrick Vinton Kirch

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses the author’s reasons for choosing Kahikinui as the site of a major archaeological project. At first glance this arid, leeward southeastern slope of Haleakalā volcano is a classic kuaʻāina, a backcountry that was shunned by the ruling chiefs. There are no rich moʻolelo (oral traditions) about Kahikinui; indeed, it is barely mentioned in the main historical accounts. Yet there were a number of advantages to launching an archaeological project in this kuaʻāina. First and foremost, Kahikinui constituted an entire moku, an ancient political district, which had never suffered from the effects of Westernized “development.” For the archaeologist, this meant that the settlement pattern—the network of house sites, agricultural fields, shrines, heiau, and other structures built by the ancient Hawaiian occupants of the moku—would still be intact. From the perspective of anthropological theory, Kahikinui offered another advantage. It enabled the author to test the story that the hotbeds of historical dynamism in Polynesia were not the core regions, but the marginal lands like Kahikinui.

Keywords:   kuaʻāina, Kahikinui, archeology, archeological project, Hawaii

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