Research Publications

Long-term rhythms in the development of Hawaiian social stratification
The tempo plot, a statistical graphic designed for the archaeological study of rhythms of the long term that embodies a theory of archaeological evidence for the occurrence of events, is introduced. The graphic summarizes the tempo of change in the occurrence of archaeological events using the model states generated by the Markov Chain Monte Carlo routine at the heart of Bayesian calibration software. Tempo plots are applied to the archaeological record of Hawai‘i to expose rhythms of i) tradition in taro pond-field construction, ii) innovation in temple construction, and iii) fashion in the harvest of branch coral for use as a religious offering. Rhythms of the long term identify a hitherto unrecognized transformation of religious practice in Hawai‘i, establish temporal coincidence in temple construction in leeward sections of Maui and Hawai‘i Islands previously described as regionally idiosyncratic, suggest shallow temporal limits to the use of the direct historical approach in Hawai‘i, and disclose processes at work in the political economy recorded at the time of western Contact.

Archaeological Sequence Diagrams and Bayesian Chronological Models (with Caitlin E. Buck)
This paper develops directed graph representations for a class of archaeological sequence diagrams, such as the Harris Matrix, that do not include information on duration. These "stratigraphic directed graphs" differ from previous software implementations of the Harris Matrix, which employ a mix of directed graph and other data structures and algorithms. A "chronological directed graph" to represent the relationships in a Bayesian chronological model that correspond to the possibilities inherent in a sequence diagram, and an algorithm to map a stratigraphic directed graph to a chronological directed graph are proposed and illustrated with an example. These results are intended to be a proof of concept for the design of a front-end for Bayesian calibration software that is based directly on the archaeological stratigrapher’s identification of contexts, observations of stratigraphic relationships, inferences concerning parts of once-whole contexts, and selection of materials for radiocarbon dating.

Dating human dispersal in Remote Oceania: a Bayesian view from Hawai`i
Settlement date estimates for Hawai'i and New Zealand are derived using Bayesian calibration of radiocarbon dates on paleoenvironmental and archaeological samples to demonstrate that the Bayesian framework provides the tools needed to resolve the order of settlement events in Remote Oceania, as well as the time elapsed between them. It predicts that archaeologists will successfully refine the dating of human dispersal elsewhere in Remote Oceania when they work collaboratively to build chronological models within a Bayesian framework.

Alternative models of volcanic glass quarrying and exchange in Hawai`i (with Jeffrey L. Putzi, Nathaniel J. DiVito, Carl E. Sholin, Peter R. Mills, Steven Lundblad, and Bobby Camara)
138 volcanic glass artifacts recovered from Site 50–10–19–30173 at Ka'ūpūlehu, Hawai'i Island were sourced to Pu'uwa'awa'a using EDXRF. Site 50–10–19–30173 is a beach sand deposit with volcanic glass and other traditional Hawaiian artifacts that was sealed by an AD 1800–1801 lava flow. The proportion of Pu'uwa'awa'a volcanic glass in the assemblage is consistent with a cost surface model proposed recently. It is shown that the fall off in Pu'uwa'awa'a volcanic glass is exponential for the cost surface for Hawai'i Island, as it is for two alternative distance decay models, which also yield good fits to the volcanic glass data. A straight line distance overland model provides an easy way to generate predictions. A depot model, where Pu'uwa'awa'a volcanic glass is brought to Kahuwai Bay at Ka'ūpūlehu and distributed by canoe, fits the existing data somewhat better than the two overland transport models. It has been argued on the basis of distributional data and technological analyses that Pu'uwa'awa'a volcanic glass was a common pooled resource. The analysis presented here supports this idea by noting the lack of evidence for directional trade in the residuals of the fit to the exponential curve. Recommendations for future research are offered.

A Note on Hawaiian Stone Axes (with Jennifer G. Kahn)
As part of a project to describe and classify more than 800 Hawaiian stone adzes held in the ethnographic and archaeological collections at Bishop Museum in Honolulu, 11 finely-finished, double-beveled stone tools, which resemble modern axe or hatchet blades, were identified and described. These 11 axes were surprising finds in the collection because double-beveled stone tools have been reported as absent in Hawai`i and in the Duff typology are restricted to heavy, crudely-finished tools commonly recovered in Mangareva but not found elsewhere in Polynesia. Building on the replication experiments carried out by Turner and her colleagues in New Zealand, it is suggested that stone tools in Hawai`i and elsewhere in Polynesia be classified functionally, rather than grouped according to the type/variety system devised by Duff.

Structure and Growth of the Leeward Kohala Field System: An Analysis with Directed Graphs
This study illustrates how the theory of directed graphs can be used to investigate the structure and growth of the leeward Kohala field system, a traditional Hawaiian archaeological site that presents an unparalleled opportunity to investigate relative chronology. The relative chronological relationships of agricultural walls and trails in two detailed study areas are represented as directed graphs and then investigated using graph theoretic concepts including cycle, level, and connectedness. The structural properties of the directed graphs reveal structure in the field system at several spatial scales. A process of deduction yields a history of construction in each detailed study area that is different than the history produced by an earlier investigation. These results indicate that it is now possible to study the structure and growth of the entire field system remnant using computer software implementations of graph theoretic concepts applied to observations of agricultural wall and trail intersections made on aerial imagery and/or during fieldwork. A relative chronology of field system development with a resolution of one generation is a possible result.

hm: A Common Lisp Package for Archaeological Sequence Diagrams
Free and open-source software produces Graphviz dot source code for archaeological sequence diagrams from tables of stratigraphic observations, inferences, and interpretations. The hm package provides a single function, hm-draw, which expects a valid path to a configuration file as its sole argument. The configuration file specifies paths to one or more data files and sets values for about three dozen Graphviz dot variables. The configuration information and the data are held in comma separated value files. Together, the configuration and data files can hold a complete description of site stratigraphy and its interpretation.

Wealth in Old Hawai`i: Good-year Economics and the Rise of Pristine States
The journals of Captain Cook and his crew contradict bad-year economic theories that posit that traditional Hawaiian farmers were living at the margin. Recognising that pig herds were wealth-assets in old Hawai‘i, an alternative good-year economic theory is developed that interprets the introduction of sweet potato and the development of the rain-fed agricultural systems in which it was cultivated as processes in the creation and management of wealth. The wealth produced in this way was probably used, in part, to promote marriage alliances among elite families. According to the good-year economic theory, fluctuations in the products of the rain-fed agricultural facilities introduced variability into the supply of wealth-assets, which complicated the maintenance of alliances and were one cause of the wars that played a crucial role in the emergence of primary states in traditional Hawai`i.

A Paleoenvironmental and Archaeological Model-based Estimate for the Colonization of Hawai`i (with J. Stephen Athens and Timothy M. Rieth)
Recent estimates of when Hawai`i was colonized by Polynesians display considerable variability, with dates ranging from about A.D. 800 to 1250. Using high resolution paleoenvironmental coring data and a carefully defined set of archaeological radiocarbon dates, a Bayesian model for initial settlement was constructed. The pollen and charcoal assemblages of the core record made it possible to identify and date the prehuman period and also the start of human settlement using a simple depositional model. The archaeological and paleoenvironmental estimates of the colonization date show a striking convergence, indicating that initial settlement occurred at A.D. 940-1130 at a 95 percent highest posterior density region (HPD), and most probably between A.D. 1000 to 1100, using a 67 percent HPD. This analysis highlights problems that may occur when paleoenvironmental core chronologies are based on bulk soil dates. Further research on the dating of the bones of Rattus exulans, a Polynesian introduction, may refine the dating model, as would archaeological investigations focused on potential early site locations.

Hawaii's Past in a World of Pacific Islands (with James Bayman)
From the SAA Press release:

The latest volume in the Society for American Archaeology's Contemporary Perspectives series, Hawaii's Past in a World of Pacific Islands presents a probing examination of the development of archaeology in the most remote archipelago on earth.

Changing Patterns of Firewood Use on the Waimānalo Plain, Hawaiian Archaeology 13: 30--68 [PREPRINT]
Wood charcoal identifications from 35 dated traditional Hawaiian fire-pits on the Waimānalo Plain are analyzed for evidence of change over time and difference across space. Plant taxa identified in the firewood are classified according to habit, origin, and elevational distribution. Early in traditional Hawaiian times, firewood was commonly brought to the plain from inland forests and fires were made primarily with native plants. Later, firewood was more likely to be collected locally, and it typically included both Polynesian-introduced and native plants. This change in behavior appears to have taken place in the fifteenth century. It was likely associated with a vegetational change in which the native lowland forest was replaced with a variety of useful plants, especially near Puhā Stream.

Hawaiian temples and Bayesian chronology
This important discussion about the use of radiocarbon to set up a narrative of temple construction on Hawai`i arises from a recent paper published in Antiquity (2011: 927–41). It compares Bayesian and non-Bayesian solutions, and has implications that reach far beyond the Pacific. © Antiquity Publications Ltd.
Link to the published version, Antiquity 86 (2012): 1202–1209

A Multi-Language Computing Environment for Literate Programming and Reproducible Research (with Eric Schulte, Dan Davison, and Carsten Dominik)
We present a new computing environment for authoring mixed natural and computer language documents. In this environment a single hierarchically-organized plain text source file may contain a variety of elements such as code in arbitrary programming languages, raw data, links to external resources, project management data, working notes, and text for publication. Code fragments may be executed in situ with graphical, numerical and textual output captured or linked in the file. Export to LATEX, HTML, LATEX beamer, DocBook and other formats permits working reports, presentations and manuscripts for publication to be generated from the file. In addition, functioning pure code files can be automatically extracted from the file. This environment is implemented as an extension to the Emacs text editor and provides a rich set of features for authoring both prose and code, as well as sophisticated project management capabilities.

Gift Exchange and Interpretations of Captain Cook in the Traditional Kingdoms of the Hawaiian Islands
The relationship between the kanaka maoli people of the traditional kingdoms of the Hawaiian Islands and Captain James Cook and his crew is interpreted in the context of a theory of gift exchange. It is argued that interpretations of kanaka maoli behavior based on an implicit assumption that social relations were structured primarily by property rights leads to error. Instead, sense can be made of kanaka maoli behavior only if a logic based on rights of person is taken into account.

The Tempo of Change in the Leeward Kohala Field System
Reanalysis of radiocarbon dates that pre-date features of the leeward Kohala field system on Hawaiʻi Island was carried out within a Bayesian statistical framework. Results of the analysis indicate that features of the field system were developed late in traditional Hawaiian times. Many of the features appear to have been constructed subsequent to Cook’s visit in AD 1779. These results do not support the hypothesis that agricultural intensification began in the early seventeenth century, linked to a rise in the authority of chiefs.

A Model-based Age Estimate for Polynesian Colonization of Hawaiʻi
A model-based Bayesian calibration using 14C data from paleoenvironmental cores and materials introduced to the islands by Polynesian colonists estimates that the islands were likely colonized sometime late in the first millennium AD. Two calibrations, one using 14C dates on floral materials and the other using 14C dates on floral and faunal materials, indicate that archaeological materials yield relatively imprecise estimates of the colonization event with 95% highest posterior density regions 3-5 centuries long. Materials introduced to the islands by Polynesians date to two periods, one that coincides with the colonization event, and another some 3-6 centuries later. A possible disparity between colonization and the first reliably dated archaeological evidence of human activity is identified and estimated to be 1-4 centuries long.

Age of the O18 Site, Hawaiʻi (with Jeff Pantaleo)
Seven new 14C age determinations on short-lived materials yield a sound evidential basis for the chronology of the O18 site on Oʻahu Island, Hawaiʻi, long thought to be an early settlement site. Calibration within a model-based, Bayesian framework indicates that the site was established in AD 1040–1219, some 260–459 years after the current estimate of first settlement, and abandoned in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries. Previously published age determinations are mostly too old, probably due to the `old wood' effect. O18 appears to be the oldest site on the Waimānalo Plain, but earlier sites in Waimānalo likely exist inland of the plain.

Social Transformation in Old Hawai`i: A Bottom-up Approach
An argument for augmenting the usual top-down approach to traditional Hawaiian history with a bottom-up approach published in American Antiquity recently. Hypothesizes that changes in social organization are responsible for the import of poor-quality oven stones on the Waimānalo plain and for a decline in the proportion of tree wood charcoal in firepits over time. The paper relies heavily on the work of Mike Desilets and Gail Murakami.

Research Designs for Hawaiian Archaeology
A book published by the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology in 2010. It includes three chapters: "Watershed: Testing the limited land hypothesis" by Rob Hommon; "Lady Mondegreen's hopes and dreams: Three brief essays on inference in Hawaiian archaeology" by Dave Tuggle; and "Traditional Hawaiian surface architecture: Absolute and relative dating" by Tom Dye. The book is available for sale at the print-on-demand bookseller, Lulu. Proceeds from the sale of the book support the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology.

A Manual for the Identification of Fish Remains (with Ken Longenecker)
Alan Ziegler's fish bone reference collection and Bishop Museum's collection of fish otoliths are the basis for this manual authored by Tom Dye and Ken Longenecker and published by the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology. This is the full manual, not the truncated version available on the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology web site.

Land Snail Extinctions at Kalaeloa, Oʻahu (with Dave Tuggle)
This paper was written after Dave Tuggle came to the conclusion that Polynesians hadn't driven land snails to extinction at Kalaeloa. The paper was originally published in Pacific Science. It then was reworked for the journal Internet Archaeology, which made the article open-access in January 2013. The Internet Archaeology version includes interactive data analyses and graphics; the reader can download the data on which the paper is based, recreate the graphs published in the paper, and carry out alternative analyses.

Effects of 14C Sample Selection in Archaeology: An Example From Hawaiʻi
The data described here illustrate the effect of careless archaeology on the dating record of old Hawaii. Dating samples that haven't been selected for short-lived species can add up to 1,000 years to the age of the sample. Inattention to sample provenience, i.e. dating materials that can't be confidently associated with human activity, can add several hundred years to the age of a sample. These sources of error are huge compared to the short span of prehistoric time in Hawaiʻi. Failure to control for them, still a common practice in Hawaiʻi, makes it virtually impossible to distinguish between interesting hypotheses about what happened in the past.

How to Fix the Inventory Survey Rule
These brief comments argue that it is in the public interest for the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology to debate changes in the Hawaiʻi State Historic Preservation Division inventory survey rule. Two fundamental changes to the rule are proposed. First, strip the rule of its preoccupation with site function so that a greater proportion of archaeological energy and funds can be spent on data recovery investigations. Second, rewrite the rule so that it does not prescribe archaeological practice per se; this is necessary if Hawaiian archaeology is going to track progress in the discipline as a whole. These changes will simplify the inventory survey rule and strengthen the role of research in archaeological work.

Social and Cultural Change in the Prehistory of the Ancestral Polynesian Homeland
Tom Dye's dissertation written at Yale University for Frank Hole, Irving Rouse, and Roger Green.