Hawaiian loko i’a community-based archaeology: Recommending best-practice methodology for archaeology on Hawaiian fishpond structures

Author: Logan Myers

Myers, Logan, 2023 Hawaiian loko i’a community-based archaeology: Recommending best-practice methodology for archaeology on Hawaiian fishpond structures, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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This thesis investigates and recommends methodology for conducting archaeology on Native Hawaiian fishponds. At this time, Hawaiian fishponds are in a state of disrepair, with only a fraction being marked as historically relevant. Communities in Hawaii are taking it upon themselves to revitalize these structures by creating organizations and organizing local events, however, more effort is needed. Due to the Hawaiian coastal environment, a lack of both research and restoration could lead to the loss of these pivotal cultural structures. The proposed solution to the aforementioned issue is the coordination of archaeology through community-based research. Additional research will expand the network of relevant fishponds and enhance the historically recognized structures. Archaeology conducted in Hawaii can benefit from a community approach as the Hawaiian culture was misinterpreted and taken advantage of in the past. To determine recommendations for future archaeology and if a community-based approach is the best option, a comparison was created utilizing successful practices in general archaeology, community archaeology, passive fishing structure archaeology, and fishpond management. This research reveals that community-based archaeology is the best approach for Hawaiian fishpond archaeology and five significant best-practice methods for implementation. These methods are built on working with and for the native community on native sites. Derived methods include fishpond individuality, building relationships, community consultation and participation, and the use of community-accepted communication methods. Incorporating the findings, future in-field research is necessary as each method will need to be tested and discussed within the Native Hawaiian community.

Keywords: Hawaii, Native Hawaiian culture, fishponds, loko i'a, archaeology, community-based archaeology, maritime archaeology

Subject: Archaeology thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2023
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Jonathan Benjamin