SURF

Rose Guthrie

Na Kanaka'ai Kukae: The Archaeological Re-envisioning of the Ancient Hawaiian Commoner

Through the course of my summer research, I will be looking at an assemblage of archaeological materials from pre-European contact commoner household sites in the southeastern region of the island of Maui, Hawaii. This assemblage includes materials such as lithics (stone tools), charred plant remains, and faunal remains. These materials will hopefully illuminate the oft-untold story of the commoner in ancient Hawaiian society, who was largely responsible for the surplus agricultural production that fed the development of an elaborate and extravagant statehood up until the moment of Cooks arrival in the Hawaiian Islands in 1779, and may go so far as to indicate patterns of subsistence, trade, and political standardization within and between commoner households.

Message to Sponsor

With the help of a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, I can now devote myself whole-heartedly to my project without the distraction of summer employment. With this grant, I also now have the extraordinary privilege of visiting Maui twice this year to excavate and explore the area from which the assemblage of materials I will be analyzing were removed. It is critical not only that I acquire a sense of the region before making inferences about its people, but that I witness examples of typical household construction and organization. This kind of information is poorly conveyed through photography and verbal description, and can only truly be ascertained through first-hand experience.
  • Major: Anthropology
  • Mentor: Patrick Kirch, Anthropology