The prehistoric settlement of dry, leeward, ‘marginal’ landscapes, especially in Hawaii, was driven, in part, by population pressure in the more ecologically-favourable windward regions of islands.  This long-held scenario has been codified into the received model of East Polynesian island colonisation and settlement. For the 2018 archaeological field school, we wanted to test this model by conducting excavations at a site adjacent to the best canoe landing along the north rocky coastline of leeward Moloka‘i Island, affording easy access to plentiful marine resources and a short walk to the largest adze quarry on the island. Despite the dry, leeward context (with virtually no opportunities for food production), this coastal dune habitation site may have some of the earliest cultural deposits in the region. Over 17 days this past June and July, archaeological excavations were conducted to obtain dating material, subsistence remains, and portable artefacts for addressing island settlement models, leeward coastal adaptations, and the timing of quarry use and adze production strategies.  This research-driven project afforded the opportunity to train students in archaeological field and lab techniques. Results to date are summarised in this seminar.


About the presenter

Prof. Marshall Weisler has conducted archaeological research across the Pacific Islands for nearly 40 years. He has published extensively on marine subsistence studies, stone ‘sourcing for reconstructing ancient trade, chronometric dating, and many other topics. He was head of archaeology at UQ from 2006-17, and an elected fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Linnean Society of London, and the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Ashleigh Rogers, RHD student UQ, is investigating human impact of marine resources, especially limpets, along the north Moloka‘i coastline, Hawaiian Islands. She has a paper in press with the Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology that will form part of her PhD thesis. She currently holds an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship and an Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) scholarship supporting her research.


About Archaeology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of archaeological research and ideas amongst UQ archaeology students and staff. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment. It is hoped that anyone interested in current archaeological directions, both within and outside the School and University, will be able to attend and contribute to the series.