Abundance and ResilienceFarming and Foraging in Ancient Kaua'i

Abundance and ResilienceFarming and Foraging in Ancient Kaua'i

Julie S. Field and Michael W. Graves

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780824839895

Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press


At the base of a steep cliff towering some 500 feet above the coast of the remote Nā Pali district on the island of Kauaʻi, lies the spectacular historical and archaeological site at Nuʻalolo Kai. First excavated by Bishop Museum archaeologists between 1958 and 1964, the site contained the well-preserved remains of one of the largest and most diverse arrays of traditional and historic artifacts ever found in Hawaiʻi. The house sites that are the focus of this book were built over five centuries of occupation and contained deeply buried, stratified deposits extending more than nine feet beneath the surface. The book details the work of the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa which has been compiling and studying the animal remains recovered from the archaeological excavations. The chapters discuss the range of foods eaten by Hawaiians, the ways in which particular species were captured and harvested, and how these practices might have evolved through changes in the climate and natural environment. Adding to this are analyses of a sophisticated material culture. Demonstrating that an increased preference for introduced animals effectively limited negative impacts on wild animal resources, the book argues that the Hawaiian community of Nuʻalolo Kai practiced a sustainable form of animal resource procurement and management for 500 years.