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Palehua walls

Investigation of a Possible Makahiki Ceremonial Enclosure at Pālehua, O'ahu during May 2012

Lecture: ARF Brownbag | November 7 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)

Patrick V. Kirch, Anthropology, UC Berkeley; Tim Gill, Archaeological Research Facility, UC Berkeley

Archaeological Research Facility

Situated in the uplands of the Wai'anae Mountains in western Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, a unique stone enclosure and associated features may have served as a ceremonial or aggregation site during annual Makahiki rites. This talk presents the results of detailed mapping and limited subsurface investigation of the enclosure during May 2012. The square enclosure, well-constructed of large boulders and measuring approximately 40 meters on each side, has its axes oriented with both the rising position of the star cluster Pleiades (Makali'i) and with the winter solstice. A large boulder situated near the enclosure (with a row of upright slabs adjacent) marks the position of the summer solstice when viewed from the center point of the enclosure. Subsurface testing revealed the stratigraphy associated with enclosure construction, as well as a paved area inside the enclosure, and allowed for the recovery of in situ charcoal samples which indicated that at least part of the enclosure was created pre-contact.