Volume 111 2002 > Volume 111, No. 2 > A modified culture history of Anahulu Valley, O'ahu, Hawai'i and its significance for Hawaiian prehistory, by M. F. Dega and P. V. Kirch, p 107-126
                                                                                             Previous | Next   

- 107

In the mid-1970s to early 1980s, Kirch and Sahlins carried out an innovative application of the methods of “historical anthropology” to study the long-term history of the Anahulu Valley, part of the traditional district of Waialua on the northwestern part of O'ahu Island, Hawai'i (Fig.1). Combining historical ethnography with field archaeology, they were able to trace the history of land use—including several phases of economic intensification and disintensification—over a period from A.D. c.1300-1400 until the 1860s (Kirch 1979, 1985; Kirch and Sahlins 1992). This time span thus incorporates several centuries before first contact with Europeans (in 1778), as well as the period of intensive cultural changes following the engagement of Hawai'i with the expanding World System.

Figure 1. Map of O'ahu Island, showing the location of the Anahulu-Kawainui study area.
- 108

Since the pioneering Anahulu study by Kirch and Sahlins, additional field research in interior portions of the Anahulu Valley, not previously investigated, was carried out by Dega and McGerty (1997, 2000). This new research was part of a cultural resource management study for the U.S. Army, which uses portions of the upper Anahulu drainage basin as a jungle warfare training area (the Kawailoa Military Training Area, KATA). Of particular interest are a series of new radiocarbon dates obtained for traditional Hawaiian sites in the KATA area, which at first appeared to contradict some aspects of the Kirch-Sahlins temporal model for Anahulu. On further consideration, however, these new dates have allowed us to refine and modify parts of the Kirch-Sahlins culture-historical sequence. In this paper, we examine the temporal nature of the sites recorded in the upper and lower portions of the valley against the physiographic determinants for land use over time in both middle and upper Anahulu Valley. We conclude by comparing the defined temporal trajectory with settlement of interior valleys elsewhere in the Hawaiian Islands.


Kirch and Sahlins' (1992) study area consisted of a 7km stretch of the Anahulu River from the c.200-270 metre elevation seaward to the c.100 metre elevation (Fig.2). Later investigations in the region by Dega and McGerty (1997, 2000) focused on the Kawailoa Military Training Area or KATA hinterland areas, from c.200 to 870 metre elevation. Encompassing some 9449 hectares of upland valleys and plateaux, the KATA is situated on the leeward slopes of the Ko'olau Mountain range, extending northward from the central plateau of the island towards the north shore. The summit ridgeline of the Ko'olau Range defines the eastern limit of the KATA; the central plateau defines its western extent. The study areas of Kirch-Sahlins and Dega-McGerty slightly overlap in the area where the tributary streams Kawainui and Kawai'iki merge to form the Anahulu River. For the purposes of this paper, “Anahulu” refers then to the 5.5km stretch of the valley studied by Kirch and Sahlins (1992), beginning about 4km inland of the coast; “Kawainui” pertains to upland sections of the same drainage that branches into the two smaller valleys of Kawainui and Kawai'iki (within the KATA study area), beginning c.9.5km inland. The two projects have now contiguously investigated the entire 10km stretch of an interior valley area within the traditional land unit or ahupua'a of Kawailoa, one of six such units within the traditional district of Waialua.

- 109
Figure 2. Map of the Anahulu-Kawainui study area, showing the locations of radiocarbon-dated sites.

Elevations along the Anahulu-Kawainui tract range from approximately 100 metres above mean sea level (amsl) at the lower, western uplands to approximately 400 metres amsl at the most upland (east) location of recorded archaeological sites in Kawainui and neighbouring Kawai'iki. In general, the Anahulu-Kawainui area consists of deeply dissected uplands with many slopes incised by deep U- and V-shaped valleys, representing a sub-mature stage of stream erosion. Valleys tend to widen with decreased elevation toward the coastline. Significantly for human settlement and land use (especially pond-field irrigation), the lower elevations of the Anahulu Valley contain broader valley sections, with more extensive alluvial flats and greater hydrological output than the interior Kawainui area with its smaller, narrow valleys and limited alluvial flats.

The majority of documented archaeological sites occur in the lower valley reaches (i.e., the Anahulu area). This lower valley generally extends between the c.100-370m level and contains almost level to very steep, well-drained soils occurring in fans and terraces. Habitation and irrigation sites were identified in areas where valley bottoms widen and meandering streams are typical, these combinations of physiographic factors forming alluvial terraces at meanders in river courses through the valley. Swale-like areas occur throughout lower valley reaches where the geomorphic sequence of deposition occurs as a progressive infilling of alluvial sediments washed in during periods of overbank flow (Kirch 1992:139).

The presence of perennial water was a significant factor influencing prehistoric and early historic settlement patterns in the Anahulu-Kawainui area. Water-borne sediments, those sediments and underlying sub-soils carried and deposited by alluvial action, have been deposited at stream - 110 meanders, creating alluvial flats and terraces readily amenable to traditional agricultural pursuits, especially taro irrigation. Water output, in concert with soil deposition, has remarkably defined the presence of prehistoric and historic habitation and agricultural sites at select upland areas. Such hydrological conditions may partially account for the presence or absence of archaeological sites in the Anahulu-Kawainui area. In sum, there is a strong positive correlation between archaeological sites and specific landforms in the valley.

Kawainui and Kawai'iki are similar drainages in respect to size, landform, location, and hydrologic outputs. Both are formed from moderately anastomosing streams near the Ko'olau Summit that combine into a meandering stream approaching the mid-valley section of the drainage basin. While the streams are formed at higher elevation (c.550 metres amsl), these smaller drainages ultimately merge into slightly larger streams as the valleys open at lower elevations (c.350-440 metres amsl), which eventually feed into the two arteries of the main Anahulu drainage. The velocity and concentration of water coursing down the Kawainui and Kawai'iki drainages has allowed for the formation of deep and fairly well-drained, alluvial deposits of modest extent, adjacent to the streams on practically every stream meander. Again, these locations were most favourable for agriculture and habitation. Indeed, all archaeological sites occurring within the two valleys were documented as adjacent to the respective stream channels. However, the two streams and their respective valleys above the bifurcation point are much smaller in breadth than the lower Anahulu drainage. These physiographic variances have, we believe, been key factors in the evolving history of Anahulu Valley occupation.

Archaeological Sites in Anahulu and Kawainui

A total of 40 archaeological sites were documented in Anahulu (Kirch 1992: Appendix A), and another 33 sites in the two perennial stream valleys of Kawainui and Kawai'iki (Dega and McGerty 2000). Few archaeological sites were identified during systematic survey of the adjacent valleys. In the Anahulu survey area, sites are concentrated on alluvial flats; ethnohistoric evidence from the mid-19th century reveals that each major stream flat, along with adjacent taluvial slopes (defined after Wentworth 1943), comprised an 'ili or subdivision of the larger ahupua'a land unit (Kirch 1992: Figs 2.12-13). The typical settlement pattern within the Anahulu sector consists of spatially aggregated residential features (house terraces or platforms, enclosure walls, pavements, burials) directly associated with stone-faced, earth-filled terraces for pond-field irrigation of taro (Colocasia - 111 esculenta). An excellent example of such a residential-agricultural complex is 'Ili Kapuahilua (Kirch 1992: Fig. 3.32). Also found within the Anahulu sector are a number of rockshelters at the interface of the talus slopes and cliffs; three such shelters were excavated by Kirch (1989, 1992:33-49).

Archaeological sites documented more recently in Kawainui and Kawai'iki drainages are also primarily concentrated on alluvial flats adjacent to the stream channels, presumably allowing for maximal use of the rich alluvial soils and for ready access to water. Permanent residential structures such as stone platforms, enclosures and terraces were documented near alluvial/taluvial boundaries. In most cases, habitation structures were clustered into collective living and activity areas; none were spatially isolated. None of these residential structures yielded Historic period foreign artefacts. Structure preservation was excellent.

As with the pattern in Anahulu, house platforms, enclosures, terraces and rock-paved areas in Kawainui and Kawai'iki tended to be distributed above stream channels near stone-faced pond-field terraces and irrigation channels ('auwai). The irrigation systems were typical Hawaiian, gravity-fed pond-field complexes in which water was channelled through single, stone-lined canals. Most field systems were probably associated with just one or two local household units. Dryland agricultural features such as terraces were more randomly distributed in more diverse topographic settings, including slopes and in narrow tributary valleys lacking permanent water flow.

The Local Anahulu Sequence

Kirch and Sahlins' data from Anahulu allowed them to outline a historical sequence for the middle portions of the valley, beginning with initial use of the rockshelters in the mid-14th century A.D., based on the earliest radiocarbon date (Beta-5613) from Site D6-58 (Kirch 1989:128). By the beginning of the 17th century A.D., four rockshelters were in use as intermittent habitations, and there were probably also temporary habitations on the alluvial flats, as suggested by an earth oven dated to 500 ± 50 B.P. (cal A.D. 1406-1438; Beta-5605), which was buried and sealed under a later, post-contact irrigation system (Kirch 1992:46). This initial phase of land use in the valley's middle sector (Anahulu) was interpreted as part of a widespread pattern of “inland expansion” throughout the archipelago; indeed, this part of the Hawaiian cultural sequence (A.D. 1100-1650) is generally known as the Expansion period (Kirch 1985). Archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological evidence from the rockshelters suggests that the people inhabiting them exploited wild birds, stream resources, and other forest products, and probably also practiced shifting cultivation on the - 112 taluvial slopes and alluvial flats nearby. By the beginning of the 18th century, however, still within the pre-European contact period (what is usually designated as the Proto-Historic period [Kirch 1985]), all four rockshelters display signs of a shift from temporary (or seasonal) to permanent habitation. These include increases in domestic pig and dog bones in the faunal assemblages (both species being penned and husbanded by Hawaiian farmers), as well as more diverse artefact assemblages reflective of a range of tasks associated with permanent habitation.

Major changes followed in the early Post-contact period (c.1795-1820), with an intensive occupation of the middle valley under the auspices of the Hawai'i Island conquering paramount Kamehameha I, and both his consanguineal and affinal successors (these factions frequently being in competition with each other). Following Kamehameha's initial conquest of O'ahu in 1795, and his reoccupation of the island in 1804 (Sahlins 1992), the Anahulu Valley sector underwent a major transformation in settlement pattern and level of economic intensity. Based on a detailed analysis of the ethnohistoric records, this shift can be directly correlated with political control of Waialua District by the powerful Ka'ahumanu group of chiefs and chiefesses, affines of Kamehameha who came to control the fledgling Kingdom in the early 18th century.

A majority of the surface residential sites and irrigation systems investigated by Kirch and his colleagues in the middle valley coincided temporally with this phase of Kamehameha I's unification and subsequent agricultural intensification on O'ahu from A.D. 1795 through 1804-1820s. “Virtually the entire built architectural landscape of the upper valley-walls, house platforms and terraces, irrigation networks, and so forth, dates to the period following European contact” (Kirch 1992:46). As we shall point out below, however, the new evidence from the interior Kawainui Valley sector suggests that one outcome of this extensive reworking of the mid-valley landscape was the obscuring of the surface evidence for residential and agricultural practices deriving from the century or so immediately before European contact (e.g., the Proto-Historic period). Indeed, late prehistoric use of the Kawainui/Kawai'i area, as well as Anahulu, may have been more “like that of Makaha's upper valley—a few irrigated terraces along the stream and a few scattered house structures” (Cordy 1974:186, see also Ayres 1970). At the same time, the Kawainui sector contains virtually no evidence of the early Historic period economic intensification that so transformed the middle (Anahulu) valley. During the same time period in Anahulu, permanent habitation structures and irrigated agricultural complexes were constructed or expanded on a scale not seen in the valley's earlier history. The consequence, one significant for interpreting the overall - 113 historical sequence in the valley, is that the valley's uppermost reaches (Kawainui) exhibit an archaeological landscape that had become “fossilised” in time precisely at the phase of initial European contact. The virtual abandonment of the Kawainui and Kawa'iki sectors (beginning some 9.5km inland from the coast) at this time may have been one consequence of post-contact population decrease. A total absence of mid-19th century land claims for these upper valleys shows that they were never reoccupied after their abandonment.


Kirch and Sahlins obtained 17 radiocarbon dates from sites in Anahulu, nine from the rockshelters and eight from residential sites and associated irrigation systems (Kirch 1992: Tables 2.1, 2.5). The recent work in Kawainui now adds an additional 13 dates for the interior portions of the drainage basin, from habitation sites, dryland agricultural features, and irrigation features (Table 1). Twelve samples were obtained from excavations in Kawainui Valley, while a single sample was obtained from a small dryland agricultural site just downstream of the Kawainui-Kawai'iki stream confluence (Kawai'iki Stream Valley also contains habitation and agricultural sites, but these have yet to be excavated). The 13 new samples from Kawainui were all of wood charcoal; the taxa of the samples was not identified before dating. We caution that because there was no systematic effort made to select short-lived taxa such as shrubs, these dates may have a certain “in-built” age factor, if some or all of them derived from larger forest trees.

Combining the Anahulu and Kawainui radiocarbon datasets, 30 radiocarbon age determinations are now available for chronological analysis. In the following paragraphs we discuss this suite of samples in terms of the four main archaeological site classes present in the valley. Oxcal plots of the probability distributions of calibrated dates are given in Figures 3 through 6.


No new rockshelters were excavated or dated in the inland Kawainui Valley sector. Four rockshelters were previously recorded and tested in Anahulu by Kirch, as summarised above. The eight 14C dates from these sites are plotted in Figure 3, showing their use in the mid-Expansion to Proto-Historic periods of the Hawaiian sequence. As noted above, faunal and artefactual evidence from the shelters indicates a shift from temporary to permanent occupation during the 18th century, before European contact. The rockshelters continued to be used into the early Post-contact period, as evidenced by trade beads, metal, gun-flints, and small sherds of bottle glass - 114 in their uppermost levels. Use of the rockshelters, however, evidently ceased early during this Contact period, because these sites do not display the more extensive arrays of European material culture typical of the open habitation sites dating from the 1830s to 1860s.

TABLE 1. Radiocarbon dates from the Kawainui sector
Beta Analytic Lab No. State Site No. Measured 14C Age B.P. 13C/12C Ratio Conventional 14C Age B.P. Calibrated Age, 2 Sigma (95.4% prob.) Site Class
118743 5606 210±70 -28.6 ‰ 150±70 AD 1655 (1.00) Permanent Habitation
118744 5606 180±60 -26.5 ‰ 160±60 1 AD 1641(1.00) Permanent Habitation
118745 5606 300±60 -26.2 ‰ 280±60 AD 1450-1680 (.88) Permanent Habitation
118746 5606 310±70 -26.7 ‰ 280±70 AD 1440-1690 (.83) Permanent Habitation
103574 5606 270±60 -24.1 ‰ 280±60 AD 1456-1679 (.88) Permanent Habitation
118747 5606 320±70 -24.8 ‰ 330±70 AD 1430-1670 (.98) Permanent Habitation
118748 5606 240±50 -27.5 ‰ 200±50 AD 1480-1700 (.62), 1720-1820 (.35) Dryland Agriculture
118749 5606 350±40 -26.9 ‰ 320±40 AD 1450-640(1.00) Dryland Agriculture
118751 T39 340±50 -26.2 ‰ 320±50 AD 1450-1650 (1.00) Dryland Agriculture
104144 5606 110±80 -27.4 ‰ 70±80 *AD 1665 (1.00) Dryland Agriculture
104145 5606 90±50 -24.5 ‰ 100±50 *AD 1670-1755 (.32), 1795 (.68) Dryland Agriculture
118752 5612 310±50 -28.5 ‰ 250±50 AD 1480-1690 (.71), 1730-1810 (.27) Irrigated Agriculture
118750 5612 340±60 -25.6 ‰ 330±60 AD 1440-1660(1.00) Irigated Agriculture
- 115
Figure 3. Oxcal probability plots for dated rockshelter sites in the Anahulu sector.
Figure 4. Oxcal probability plots for dated habitation sites in the Anahulu and Kawainui sectors.
- 116
Figure 5. Oxcal probability plots for dated dryland agricultural sites in the Kawainui sector.
Figure 5. Oxcal probability plots for dated irrigation sites in the Anahulu and Kawainui sectors.
- 117
Permanent Habitation/House Sites

The Kirch-Sahlins team excavated at eight open habitation sites in the Anahulu sector of the valley. Because the majority of these were single-component occupations dominated by 19th-century material culture assemblages, radiocarbon dates were obtained for only two sites. One of these (Site D6-40), the most inland habitation complex investigated by Kirch and Sahlins (some 9km upstream), was associated with a mid-19th century land claim by a Hawaiian cultivator named Mailou (in 'Ili Mikiai), but upon excavation the house terrace yielded only traditional Hawaiian material culture (Kirch 1992:62-65), including a basalt adze, gaming stone, and basalt and volcanic glass flakes. A charcoal sample from this house yielded an age of 160 ± 60 B.P. (see Fig.4), with a calibrated age probability distribution that spans both the Pre-contact and Post-contact periods. The other 14C date (Beta-5608) from an Anahulu house was obtained from Site D6-34, a large house with internal stratification. The sample came from the lower occupation deposit, sealed in by later expansion of the house terrace, which contained a mix of traditional Hawaiian artefacts along with beads and gun-flints indicative of the earliest phase of European contact. The sample yielded an age of less than 280 yrs B.P., consistent with the artefactual evidence. The six other open house sites excavated within the Anahulu sector all contained single component occupations with European items, indicating that they dated to the 19th century (see Kirch 1992 for details). These sites are also closely associated with named individuals who made land claims before the Board of Commissioners to Quiet Land Titles in the period 1848-52 (Kirch and Sahlins 1992).

One other 14C date associated with residential activity was obtained from the Anahulu sector. This date (Beta 5605, 500 ± 50 B.P., cal A.D. 1406-1438), from Site D6-25, is from charcoal in a buried firepit or earth oven that had been truncated by construction of a later Historic period irrigation canal (Spriggs and Kirch 1992:148). The feature may have been associated with a garden house or other temporary habitation feature, given that no other evidence of intensive occupation in this locality was found.

The situation in Kawainui contrasts markedly with that in Anahulu, with six of the excavated site complexes lacking any foreign or Historic period artefacts of European manufacture. This absence of Historic period artefacts strongly suggests that settlement in the Kawainui/Kawai'iki hinterland remained peripheral to early contacts with Western visitors to the islands, and probably also reflects a rapid abandonment of this most interior part of the valley after initial contact. Such abandonment may well have occurred in response to the effects of disease and depopulation which swept the islands beginning with the Cook Expedition of 1778-79 (Bushnell 1993). In contrast, - 118 the later intensive occupation of the Anahulu Valley sector, in fact, was in large part a consequence of population shifts and early 19th-century politically induced immigration to Waialua District (Sahlins 1992).

As can be seen in Figure 4, four of the Kawainui house sites date to the 1450-1650 range, while two dated to 1700+. Yet, based on the material culture evidence, none of the sites postdated the 1800s. Two of the eight sites appear to have been occupied from the 1400s to 1600s and well into the time of Kamehameha I (in the late 1700s).

Dryland Agricultural Sites

Seventeen sites in the Kawainui-Kawai'iki survey area are representative of dryland agricultural field complexes. Several of these sites are directly associated with permanent habitations, and occur on alluvial terraces or benches between the inner bend of stream meanders and the base of the talus slopes. Due to the small size of these sites, it is presumed that dryland cultivation here was on a household scale. Five radiocarbon samples were obtained from two dryland systems in Kawainui, and the calibrated probabilities are shown in Figure 5. As can be seen, the two earliest dates associated with dryland cultivation fall roughly in the 16th century, whereas three others suggest continued agricultural activity into the Proto-Historic period. These dates are more or less contemporaneous with those of the Anahulu sector rockshelters that Kirch (1992) interpreted as having been used as base camps for groups practising shifting cultivation or other forms of dryland agriculture. Spriggs (n.d.) noted a modest number of dryland agricultural features occurring on colluvial slopes in Anahulu. While these sites have not yet been dated, they are believed to either reflect production and consumption at the local household level (i.e., gardens near residences) or possibly indicate complementary adjuncts to irrigated production systems. Taken as a whole, the dates from both the Anahulu rockshelters and the Kawainui dryland agricultural features now indicate that the entire length of the Anahulu-Kawainui drainage basin was probably brought under some form of dryland cultivation during the second half of the Expansion period (e.g., 1500-1650) and continued that way into the Proto-Historic period.

Irrigated Agricultural Systems

Sixteen newly-recorded sites in Kawainui consist of small-scale irrigated agricultural systems, with stone-faced pond-field terraces and irrigation channels, or 'auwai. The irrigated systems were gravity-fed complexes, with water typically channelled from upper valley locations by a single, stone-lined watercourse. Based upon size alone (4,800m2 for the largest site), these irrigation complexes presumably served local household (one or two - 119 household units) production and consumption. Two radiocarbon samples from one complex in Kawainui yielded age ranges of A.D. 1440-1660 and A.D. 1480-1690, respectively, contemporaneous with those from permanent habitation features located some 300m down-valley. These dates provide the first evidence for Expansion period irrigation within the larger valley system.

In the Anahulu sector of the valley, the irrigation systems are considerably larger (the largest with 16,830m2) and most were associated with specific named claimants in the mid-19th century. Eleven such irrigation complexes were mapped in detail by the Kirch-Sahlins team, but only one system (Site D6-26 in 'Ili Kaloaloa) was intensively excavated by Spriggs (cited in Kirch 1992). Three 14C dates from this site yielded ages of 200 ± 60 B.P., less than 280, and less than 120 years. These ages were all taken to be consistent with an early 19th century construction and re-intensification of the system. A second irrigation system, Site D6-41 in 'Ili Mikiai, was not excavated, but charcoal in alluvium underlying the main irrigation canal (exposed in an eroding stream bank section), and thus pre-dating the canal construction, was dated to 160 ± 70 B.P. The probability plot for the calibrated age range for this sample (Fig.6) shows a wide spread, which could be consistent with anything from the Proto-Historic to Post-contact periods. Our interpretation was that the irrigation system probably dated to the Post-contact, Kamehameha I period of agricultural intensification, but in light of the new dates from Kawainui, this interpretation is now open to question.

Additional excavations in more of the Anahulu sector irrigation systems would be desirable; indeed, this was an original research aim, which was thwarted by limited funding and time. Although we are reasonably confident that the D6-26 irrigation system at 'Ili Kaloaloa does indeed date to the Post-contact period of agricultural intensification under Kamehameha (and subsequent re-intensification in mid-century), it may well be the case that other irrigation systems in the Anahulu sector were constructed over and incorporated slightly earlier and smaller irrigation works. The dates from Site 5612a in Kawainui certainly open this possibility. Only an extensive series of stratigraphic excavations and radiocarbon dating in these systems will be able to address this question.


The two archaeological projects discussed here, removed from each other by almost two decades of field research, were further distinguished by the research questions directing each study. The initial project in Anahulu, led by Kirch and Sahlins (1992), focused on Historic period transformations in the valley, emphasising the transition from a valley sparsely occupied by - 120 household consumers, to subjects of a Kingdom whose leaders were bent on extracting a surplus of agricultural goods. Kirch's (1992) main goal was to employ archaeological methods to test propositions derived from Sahlins' (1992) in-depth historical analysis. The Anahulu study was important in demonstrating the degree to which wider socio-political events, such as wars of conquest, could result in significant changes to local settlement patterns and economic systems (Kirch 1985:121).

In contrast, the more recent KATA project—undertaken as a programme in cultural resources management—focused on documenting and dating the construction of architectural features across the more upland landscape and addressing questions centred on understanding the prehistoric nature of an upland valley setting. Because Kirch and Sahlins (1992) had already accurately portrayed the post-contact nature of Anahulu, McGerty and Dega's later investigations (1997, 2000) focused on prehistoric use of Anahulu and Kawainui/Kawai 'iki. Despite these differences in research design and approach, the two data sets can be combined to broaden our understanding of Hawaiian settlement in the overall Anahulu-Kawainui landscape.

That the more upland Kawainui-Kawai'iki drainages should yield a suite of pre-contact dates for permanent habitation loci, irrigated agricultural complexes and dryland agricultural sites, and largely lack evidence of the dramatic 19th-century changes that transformed Anahulu, initially seems puzzling, even contradictory of the Anahulu sequence as outlined by Kirch and Sahlins. We believe that the differences in dating sets, however, are more likely reflective of the differential impact of post-contact change on the more accessible mid-section (Anahulu) and remote hinterland (Kawainui) sectors of the valley.

A Revised Spatial and Temporal Model

Structural, artefactual and radiocarbon evidence now show that both the Anahulu and Kawainui sectors of the larger valley system were first opened up for human exploitation beginning in the 15th to 16th centuries, during the second half of the Expansion period. The evidence for this comes both from the Anahulu rockshelters and from the Kawainui habitation and agricultural sites. Small, dryland agricultural fields were constructed in Kawainui, and the Anahulu rockshelters display evidence of various kinds of forest-zone exploitation. This was a time of population expansion throughout the archipelago, when more upland and ecologically marginal zones began to be occupied on a permanent basis.

By the beginning of the Proto-Historic period (1650-1795), the Anahulu sector rockshelters were changing from temporary use to permanent habitations. In the Kawainui sector, small-scale, dryland and irrigated - 121 agricultural complexes were built near small, permanently occupied, house sites. The irrigated fields were built on alluvial flats that were terraced and flooded for the pond-field cultivation of taro. It is entirely possible that smaller, household level, irrigation complexes were also under construction in Anahulu, although later 19th-century irrigation complexes would have modified, buried, or obliterated the evidence for these.

Arboreal and silvicultural exploitation, hunting for birds, and catching small fish and shrimps in the streams, also occurred throughout the Anahulu and Kawainui-Kawai'iki area throughout the later Expansion and Proto-Historic periods. Localised household-level groups, likely composed of single nuclear-family residences, or multiple residences forming small clusters, occupied the upper and lower valley during this time. Agricultural production occurred on the level of localised residential consumption. Both Anahulu and Kawainui-Kawai'iki were exploited on a non-intensive but continuous basis by a small population whose primary economic zone included coastal to lower valley locations and the upland areas they inhabited. With upland occupation, former primary economic zones such as coastal areas became secondary economic zones, but still contributed significantly to the subsistence economy of upland residents. Archaeological evidence points to permanent, but non-intensive, use of the valley during this time. 2

After this Late Prehistoric period of continuous occupation of the Anahulu-Kawainui area in permanent open-air settlements and rockshelters, the valley system was subject to major transformations following European contact and, in particular, following the conquest of O'ahu by the Hawai'i Island forces of Kamehameha I. The first effect appears to have been the abandonment of the upper Kawainui-Kawai'iki valleys that could even have begun before the conquest of O'ahu in 1795; there is no historical evidence (such as land claims) indicating occupation or agriculture practices in the inland Kawainui-Kawai'iki sector during the time of Kamehameha's occupation. Based on the recent 14C dating, there was no human activity after the late 1700s in Kawainui and Kawai'iki. Our view is that this abandonment may have occurred rapidly after initial European contact, as a consequence of the widespread population decrease that swept through the islands. The most far-reaching landscape modifications, including intensification of the irrigation systems, therefore were confined to the mid-valley Anahulu sector, where the wide alluvial expanses were more amenable to the increased scale of production.

Thus, the short-term cycles of economic intensification (the Conquest period), disintensification (the Sandalwood period) and re-intensification (the Whaling period), so thoroughly documented by Kirch and Sahlins (1992), had no impact on the landscape inland of the upper part of the - 122 Anahulu sector (about 9.5km inland). That the middle Anahulu portion of the valley was transformed at all was due in large part to the in-migration of people from other islands and districts, thus counteracting the overall effect of archipelago-wide depopulation. Anahulu, unlike Kawainui-Kawa'iki, contained sufficiently extensive alluvial flats, along with robust hydrological output and wider valleys with better access to the coast, to be attractive to those who continued to move into the Waialua area.

Simply put, the amplification and intensification of agricultural resources witnessed in the middle valley did not extend into the upper valley stretches because of limiting environmental factors and, probably, distance from the coast. In sum, the dates for the use and occupation of Anahulu and Kawainui that initially seemed to be contradictory are not, in fact, problematic. Rather, it is clear that the Kawainui hinterland, abandoned early after initial contact and not subject to the intensive early 19th-century cycle of economic intensification that transformed the landscape of Anahulu, displays a “fossilised” version of the valley landscape at the moment of first contact with the West.

Comparison with Interior Hawaiian Valley Areas

Prehistoric occupation of Anahulu extends into the middle of the Expansion period (1100-1650), a time when the archipelago-wide population was entering a phase of explosive population growth and consequently was expanding geographically into either marginal or previously unused lands. This is the same period during which the fertile lower valley kula slopes of Makaha Valley on O'ahu were developed as dryland agricultural fields (Green 1970, 1980) and the leeward Halawa Valley (O'ahu) sites were first occupied. On the windward side of O'ahu, inland expansion was already well underway by the early Expansion period, and by the 12th century, irrigated taro complexes were being constructed in areas such as Luluku (Allen 1987). Windward valley settlement in Halawa Valley on the windward side of Moloka'i Island probably began by A.D. 600 (Kirch 2000:252, Kirch and Kelly 1975, Riley 1975). By comparison, the leeward settlement complex in Kawela, Moloka'i, has been dated to 1550-1850 (Weisler and Kirch 1985). On Maui, the leeward settlement complex of Kahikinui shows initial human use perhaps as early as 1350, but with most sites dating to after 1600 (Kirch 2000:252 and more recent dates). As is increasingly evident, however, this overall pattern of inland and leeward expansion did not occur simultaneously everywhere; however, the timing of inland penetration into windward valleys typically precedes that in leeward areas by more than two or three centuries.

The Expansion period was a time of permanent settlement in leeward valleys on O'ahu, such as Halawa and Makaha, whose hydrologic outputs - 123 were more variable than the windward valleys (and hence more difficult to control for irrigation). This temporal range is the time we now infer for initial construction of permanent habitation structures and agricultural complexes, both irrigated and non-irrigated, for Anahulu and Kawainui. This non-intensive phase of landscape utilisation preceded escalating proto-historic use of the valley.

The early historic Intensification period, associated with the conquest and occupation of O'ahu in 1804, is reflected in such valleys as Anahulu (under the auspices of high chief Ke'eaumoku in Waialua District), Nu'uanu, and Manoa (I'i 1959:68), as well as in the Waikoloa area on Hawai'i Island (Reeve 1983; see also Kirch 1985). Subsistence intensification related to the control of Anahulu and Waialua District was instigated by the cadre of high chiefs who supported Kamehameha I and formed the early government of the Hawaiian Kingdom (Kirch and Sahlins 1992). This was followed by a cycle of disintensification in many of the same areas that had been major production loci. For example, disintensification occurred by 1812/1820 in Anahulu and other leeward valleys. This can be attributed particularly to the chiefly oppression of local residents (maka'ainana), obliged to harvest sandalwood trees (see Kirch and Sahlins 1992) at the expense of producing basic subsistence crops. A final period of agricultural re-intensification was spurred on by these same chiefs' interests in capitalising on the boom in provisioning whaling ships after the collapse of the sandalwood trade in 1829.

The Landscape and Contact

At the comparative landscape scale, the Kawainui sector is farthest from the coast (14km) in rather difficult (deeply dissected, steep) terrain, and thus contrasts with the more open Anahulu area at a lower elevation. Kirch and Spriggs (1993:8) described the middle valley reaches of Anahulu as being “4-5 km from the coast, which is nearly the inland-most extent of prehistoric occupation in Makaha Valley and almost twice as far inland as occupation in the Halawa Valley on Moloka'i.” The uppermost sites in Halawa and Luluku Valleys of O'ahu extend c.8km from the coast (R.L. Spear, pers. comm.).

Permanent habitations and small irrigated agricultural complexes dated to the late Prehistoric period in Kawainui-Kawai'iki drainages have now been documented an additional 3-4km up-valley from Anahulu, a total distance of some 14km from the coast. This evidence demonstrates the extent to which traditional Hawaiian land-use practices penetrated even the more interior portions of the larger islands before European contact. Following contact, however, and especially as foreign diseases to which the Hawaiians - 124 had no immunity ravaged their numbers (Bushnell 1993), these interior regions were evidently the first to be depopulated and abandoned. This is certainly the picture for Kawainui, where the dispersed habitations and small agricultural complexes show no persistence after the end of the Prehistoric period, in stark contrast to the landscape of middle Anahulu, which continued to be economically transformed into the 1860s.

We have examined two sets of radiocarbon dates, derived from two different sectors of the same valley system in two research endeavours conducted some years apart, which at first appeared to show contradictory results. In fact, these middle and upper valley data sets can be readily married into a more comprehensive temporal model of upland valley utilisation in Hawai'i. The Kawainui sector, representative of the most interior and hinterland zone of occupation on the island of O'ahu, preserves a kind of “fossilised” archaeological landscape of the final phase of traditional occupation, at the point of initial contact with the West. As such, the Kawainui sector was not subject to the more extensive landscape transformations that radically altered the settlement pattern of the middle Anahulu Valley in the period from c.1804-1860. In the Anahulu sector, the Historic period reshaping of the landscape evidently obliterated most surface traces of the late prehistoric settlement pattern, with the exception of the rockshelters. The rockshelters, as with the Kawainui sites, were abandoned early after European contact. By obtaining new data from the Kawainui sector, then, we have been able to somewhat revise our interpretations of the larger valley settlement-subsistence system in the later Expansion and Proto-Historic periods.

Our re-analysis of the Anahulu Valley cultural sequence provides a good example of the position taken by Ernst Mayr (1997:79-106), who argues (in opposition to the views of some postmodern critics of science) that over the long term, science is both self-correcting and cumulative in its knowledge base. We believe this to be as true of the historical sciences, in which we would include archaeology and historical anthropology, as of the biological or physical sciences. In the case of Anahulu, a restudy carried out for entirely different purposes than the original Kirch-Sahlins project (cultural resource management as opposed to a “pure research” project) has allowed us to correct and refine some aspects of the original model. This, in our view, is illustrative of the way good science both should, and usually does, work.

- 125

M. Dega extends his gratitude to the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawai'i (Dr Laurie Lucking) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Chuck Streck and Kanalei Shun) for supporting research in the Kawailoa Training Area. He likewise extends much appreciation and recognition to LeAnn McGerty and William Fortini, Jr. for their instrumental roles during fieldwork and in contributing salient ideas in terms of modeling upland prehistoric sequences in the Hawaiian Islands.

  • Allen, J. (ed.), 1987. Five Upland 'Ili: Archaeological and Historical Investigations in the Kane 'ohe Interchange, Interstate Highway H-3, Island of O'ahu. Departmental Report Series, Report 87-1. Honolulu: Department of Anthropology, Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
  • Ayres, W.S., 1970. Archaeological Survey and Excavations Kamana-Nui Valley Moanalua Ahupu'a, South Halawa Valley, Halawa Ahupua'a. Bishop Museum Department of Anthropology Papers, Report 70-8. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
  • Bushnell, O.A., 1993. The Gifts of Civilization: Germs and Genocide in Hawai'i. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
  • Cordy, R., 1974. Cultural adaptation and evolution in Hawaii: A suggested new sequence. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 83:180-91
  • Dega, M.F. and L. McGerty, 1997. A View from the Top: Hawaiian Land Utilization above Anahulu. Paper Presented in the Symposium “General Hawaiian Archaeology” at the 10th Annual Hawaiian Archaeological Conference, Puhi, Kaua'i.
  • ——2000. Traditional and Historic Settlement of the Kawailoa Uplands: A Cultural Resources Inventory Survey, Phase II, of the U.S. Army Kawailoa Training Area (KLOA), for the U.S. Garrison, Hawai'i, Ecosystem Management Program, O'ahu Island, Hawai'i. Honolulu: Scientific Consultant Services, Inc.
  • Green, R.C., 1970. Radiocarbon dating in the Makaha Valley. In R.C. Green (ed.), Makaha Valley Historical Project: Interim Report No. 2. Pacific Anthropological Records No.10. Honolulu: Department of Anthropology, Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
  • ——1980. Makaha Before 1880 A.D. Pacific Anthropological Records No.31. Honolulu: Department of Anthropology, Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
- 126
  • 'I'i, John Papa, 1959. Fragments of Hawaiian History. Translated by M. Pukui. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press.
  • Kirch, P.V., 1979. Late Prehistoric and Early Historic Settlement-Subsistence Systems in the Anahulu Valley, O'ahu., Report 79-2. Honolulu: Department of Anthropology, Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
  • ——1985. Feathered Gods and Fishhooks: An Introduction to Hawaiian Archaeology and Prehistory. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
  • ——1989. Prehistoric Hawaiian Occupation in the Anahulu Valley, O'ahu Island: Excavations in Three Inland Rockshelters. Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Research Facility, No. 47. Berkeley: University of California.
  • ——1992. Anahulu: The Anthropology of History in the Kingdom of Hawaii: Volume Two, The Archaeology of History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • ——2000. On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands Before European Contact. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Kirch, P.V. and M. Kelly (eds), 1975. Prehistory and Ecology in a Windward Hawaiian Valley: Halawa Valley, Moloka'i. Pacific Anthropological Records No.24. Honolulu: Department of Anthropology, Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
  • Kirch, P.V. and M. Sahlins, 1992. Anahulu: The Anthropology of History in the Kingdom of Hawaii. 2 Vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Kirch, P.V. and M. Spriggs, 1993. A radiocarbon chronology for the Upper Anahulu Valley, O'ahu. Hawaiian Archaeology, 2:4-9.
  • Mayr, E., 1997. This is Biology: The Science of the Living World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Reeve, R., 1983. Archaeological investigations in section 3. In J.T. Clark and P.V. Kirch (eds), Archaeological Investigations of the Mudlane-Waimea-Kawaihae Road Corridor, Island of Hawai'i. Department of Anthropology, Report Series 83-1. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, pp.181-239.
  • Riley, T.J., 1975. Survey and excavations of the aboriginal agricultural system. In P.V. Kirch and M. Kelly (eds), Prehistory and Ecology in a Windward Hawaiian Valley: Halawa Valley, Moloka'i. Pacific Anthropological Records No.24. Honolulu: Department of Anthropology, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, pp.79-116.
  • Sahlins, M., 1992. Anahulu: The Anthropology of History in the Kingdom of Hawaii:Volume One, Historical Ethnography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Spriggs, M.J.T. and P.V. Kirch, 1992. 'Auwai, kanawai, and waiwai: Irrigation in Kawailoa-uka. In P.V. Kirch, Anahulu: The Anthropology of History in the Kingdom of Hawaii, Volume Two, The Archaeology of History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp.118-64.
  • Spriggs, M.J.T., n.d. The Upper Anahulu Valley Survey: A Preliminary Analysis of Agricultural Remains and Settlement Pattern. Typescript.
  • Wentworth, C.K., 1943. Soil avalanches on Oahu, Hawaii. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 54:53-64.
  • Weisler, M. and P.V. Kirch, 1985. The structure of settlement space in a Polynesian chiefdom. New Zealand Journal of Archaeology, 7:129-58.
1   May Extend Out of Range
2   We should point out that the lowest segment of the Anahulu Valley, from the coast to about 4km inland (where the Kirch-Sahlins study area begins), has not been archaeologically investigated, largely because it was subjected to massive land modifications in the late 19th and 20th centuries. These included sugarcane plantation agriculture, the bulldozing of alluvial flats for pasturage and, most recently, construction of a bypass freeway around Hale'iwa town. It is most likely, however, that the earliest human occupation of the Waialua region occurred within this coastal zone, whose prehistory is unlikely to ever be recovered.