Heiau, ‘Āina, Lani

Heiau, ‘Āina, Lani: the Hawaiian temple system in ancient Kahikinui and Kaupō, Maui, by Patrick V. Kirch and Clive Ruggles, is published by the University of Hawai‘i Press. The book represents the results of a joint fieldwork project by the two authors, spanning more than 15 years, in the south-eastern coastal area of the Hawaiian island of Maui. There is a remarkably well preserved archaeological landscape here containing pre-conquest house sites, walls and terraces for dryland cultivation, and including scores of temple sites (heiau), many of which are newly discovered and reported in the book for the first time.

Heiau, 'Aina, Lani is a collaborative study of 78 temple sites in the ancient moku (districts) of Kahikinui and Kaupō. The title of the book means “Temples, Land, and Sky” and reflects the integrated approach taken by the authors, combining archaeological and archaeoastronomical evidence (detailed mapping of the structures, precise determination of their orientations, and accurate dating) which allows them to offer some provocative interpretations of the complex relationships between the Hawaiian temple system, and landscape, and the heavens (the “skyscape”). The book repositions the study of heiau at the forefront of Hawaiian archaeology and also demonstrates the successful integration of archaeoastronomy into broader investigations of archaeology and landscape.

The photo shows temple site NAK-30 in its landscape setting, looking eastward along the coast with the southern slopes of the Haleakalā volcano in the distance.


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