Project Portfolio

Archaeological Inventory Survey and Cultural Resources Management Plan for the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve, Hawaii

PCSI was retained by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to perform a comprehensive Archaeological Inventory Survey (AIS) of the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve (NAR) and to prepare a Cultural Resources Management Plan (CRMP) for the entire reserve.  The 3,894-acre NAR includes the Mauna Kea Adze Quarry, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as numerous ancient shrines erected by the early Hawaiians and the alpine Lake Waiau, a sacred pilgrimage site in Hawaiian culture.

It is estimated that Native Hawaiians quarried basalt from the Mauna Kea for over 1,000 years, until the late 1800s.  The basalt was formed into stone adzes that were used to hew canoes and create other objects from wood. Stone from Mauna Kea was prized by the ancient Hawaiians for its workability and ability to maintain a sharp cutting edge.  Modern analyses of the Mauna Kea’s basalt have revealed this trait was indeed rare, resulting from the unique crystalline structure of the rock found in the quarry area.

In addition to mapping and interpreting the wealth of archaeological sites found in the NAR, PCSI is preparing a CRMP that will guide the State in preserving and protecting the area’s cultural resources.   The AIS report and CRMP are projected to be complete in mid 2011.