Polynesian stone adze quarries anchor the system of tool production, distribution and consumption and are critical for examining changing social organization, symbolic values attributed to particular stone sources, economic intensification and ancient interaction. Although major adze quarries are
known from most Polynesian archipelagos, a geologically informed archaeological survey was designed for discovering the variability in stone-tool-quality rock sources. Thirteen quarries and sources within the *20,000 hectare traditional land unit of Kaluako‘i (literally, the adze pit) on Moloka‘i, Hawaiian Islands, vary considerably in size, production output and settlement context, suggesting that individual adze quarries were accorded different roles across the social landscape.

Some sixty-four radiocarbon age determinations and U-series dates from quarries and habitation sites with artefacts originating from quarries, document the temporal sequence of use beginning in the Late Expansion Period (AD 1400–1650), at least two centuries after settlement of the island.

 

Marshall I. Weisler is professor and head of archaeology, University of Queensland. He has been conducting fieldwork across the Pacific for thirty years. Research interests include: the causes and consequences of human impacts on pristine islands, prehistoric fishing strategies, reconstruction of ancient Polynesian interaction networks through the geochemical analysis of stone tools and U-series dating of religious architecture for monitoring population trends.

 

Marshall has been instrumental in surveying and recording the archealogical sites on, and within, the lands owned and managed by the Moloaki Land Trust.