Title

Location, Location, Location: A viewshed analysis of heiau spatial and temporal relationships in leeward Kohala, Hawai'i

RIS ID

123556

Publication Details

Phillips, N., Ladefoged, T. N., McPhee, B. W. & Asner, G. P. (2015). Location, Location, Location: A viewshed analysis of heiau spatial and temporal relationships in leeward Kohala, Hawai'i. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 6 (2), 21-40.

Abstract

Late pre-European contact Hawaiian society was agriculturally based, with visible religious structures acting to legitimise and reinforce elite control and management of subsistence and surplus production. The dynamic materialization of elite management of agricultural production has been documented in the leeward Kohala field system (LKFS) by analysing the spatial distribution of agricultural alignments, trails, and the division and realignment of traditional community-based land units (ahupua'a). Additional studies have documented the spatial expressions and significance of religious structures (heiau) in the area in relation to these land-units. In this analysis we build on these previous studies to investigate the inter-visibility of heiau. We document shifts in the construction of heiau with decreases in the number of structures through time and concomitant increases in size and total viewshed breadth. Newly constructed heiau were built to command large viewsheds while taking into account the location and views of pre-existing religious features. These changing patterns reflect ideological shifts and the materialization of production management instrumental in chiefly and religious control.

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