Mainland USA > Hawaii, USA #worldinterview #20

Mainland USA > Hawaii, USA

Interviewee: Regina Hilo

What is the United States strategy to look after and cope with a large number of archaeological sites and respond to the demands of international protocols regarding the conservation of world heritage sites?

Strategies to inventory, manage, and maintain any number of archaeological sites in the United States is largely dependent on the jurisdiction of federal and state agencies, as well as private landowners, and their resources (funding, trained personnel, equipment). These strategies vary from location to location, specifically from state to state, and are directly dependent on the agency exercising authority or having jurisdiction over land parcels.

With most, if not all, agencies struggling to secure financial resources and/or retain professional staff to develop meaningful proposals addressing an agency’s core mission, I feel that community partnerships are increasingly necessary as both a management and maintenance strategy.

Responding to the demands of international protocols in the conservation of world heritage sites is not at the forefront of our Hawaii SHPD mission, as we are constantly working towards compliance with our state’s Revised Statutes and Administrative Rules.

How does the United States build capacity for minority groups to get involved in archaeology and museums?

Advanced degree programs in museum studies are available in the United States and internationally. The University of Hawaii at Manoa has always had a traditional M.A. in Anthropology, and has added the M.A. in Applied Archaeology. The University of Hawaii at Hilo has a M.A. in Heritage Management. Both programs are two years in duration.

Building capacity for minority groups to get involved in archaeology and museum studies varies from state to state, from tribal group to tribal group, and from organization to organization. Ultimately, programs will target specific goals an organization or tribe wants to strengthen. There are competitive federal grants for Native American and Native Hawaiian non-profits. Competitive scholarships for Native American and Native Hawaiian students at all levels of post-high school education are awarded annually through professional organizations like the Society for American Archaeology. I have been very fortunate to receive two scholarships from the SAA’s which enabled me to embark on my graduate school education while also working full-time at the Hawaii SHPD. Without those scholarships, the financial burden of school would have been far too daunting for me to consider graduate school at all.

How are traditional cultural practices, such as foodways, dance, language, etc., addressed through local, state, or federal laws and regulations?

Federal laws (NAGPRA, NHPA) require consultation with Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs). State laws also necessitate consultation under certain conditions. The Constitution of the state of Hawaii, in article 12.7, provides the following language:

“The State reaffirms and shall protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahupua`a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights.” (http://lrbhawaii.org/con/constitution/CONST%200012-0007.html)

Hawaiian language revitalization and Hawaiian language immersion education has significantly increased the number of Hawaiian language speakers across the state. Though there are differences in linguistic systems and more than one ‘standard’, the Hawaii State Department of Education contributes to Hawaiian language revitalization by providing for K-12 Hawaiian language education. These kulakaiapuni “deliver instruction exclusively through the medium of Hawaiian language until grade 5, whereupon English is formally introduced.” (http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/TeachingAndLearning/StudentLearning/HawaiianEducation/Pages/Hawaiian-language-immersion-schools.aspx)

Also, please see `Aha Punana Leo’s chronology of Hawaiian language usage, Hawaiian history, and events leading to the decline and eventual revitalization of Hawaiian language at their website, below:


 Hula, mele, and oli are often composed to commemorate specific events, places, or individuals. These may be considered artforms by some, but to most Native Hawaiians, hula, mele, and oli are traditional cultural practices. We compose mele to remember historical events, to protest acts of injustice to the Kingdom, to unite the masses, to honor our ali`i, and to tell stories of our deities.

With regard to human skeletal remains, Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 6E and Hawaii Administrative Rules 13-300 govern my day-to-day decisions at the SHPD. I’ve often said the statutes and rules protecting human skeletal remains in Hawaii are the strongest in the United States, perhaps even internationally. For more information, please visit our SHPD website:


To learn more about the History and Culture branch, please visit our page:


As Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations have gained more political and financial power, what changes have you seen in the practice of cultural resources management, particularly in regards to consultation?

NHOs are more familiar with NHPA Section 106 consultation, its purpose and NHOs expectations of consultation. There are also more and more Native Hawaiians with professional qualifications in traditionally western fields like archaeology, environmental engineering, landscape architecture. And, there are skilled cultural liaisons, most of whom are Native Hawaiian, serving as intermediaries between the project proponents and community. These liaisons convene and facilitate meetings on behalf of the project proponents, and present their project proponent’s updates at meetings mandated by the state.

About Regina:

Regina Keʻalapuaonālaniwikimekeānuenu e Hilo (Kamehameha Schools graduate, BA, UHM) is currently an Applied Archaeology MA student in UHM Anthropology.  Born and raised in Kapāhulu, she is a Native Hawaiian archaeologist, Hawaiian language researcher and speaker, and the current President of the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology (SHA). Regina works as a Burial Sites Specialist in the History and Culture Branch of the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) to mitigate potential effects to human skeletal remains under SHPD jurisdiction. Regina is one of two newly appointed Student Representatives for People of Color on the Society for American Archaeology’s Government Affairs Committee, an advisory board to the SAA’s Board of Directors which advises the SAA on policy positions and governmental affairs. Regina is humbled and honored to be a recipient of the 2017 Native American Graduate Scholarship in Archaeology.

She is an an avid supporter of Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) in public education, including computer programming, coding, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and wearable technology incorporating both function and fashion.

Questions from Kevin Bartoy on the US mainland.

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Australia #worldinterview #1


Interviewee: Sally MacLennan

What issue or issues is/are your community facing right now?

Like a lot of places around the world, the perceived tension between development and heritage conservation continues to be a factor in Australia. I see the archaeology and heritage community (both professional and non-professional) facing a challenge around how to better engage and interest new audiences. In particular, I think the official canon of heritage and archaeology in Australia is often not representative of the diversity of Australian experiences and this can contribute to obstacles in appealing to the broader community about the value and interesting stories that underpin our heritage.

Please share a strategy that you have developed to approach, consult, mitigate, and resolve a challenging issue in your community.

Recently techniques of collaborative project design, involving diverse groups from different levels of government, community interest groups and owners and managers of heritage places have been quite effective in addressing some of these tensions at a local level. New creative approaches to sharing and managing heritage such as using virtual reality technology to engage young (and old!) audiences and actively seeking input from communities and individuals at the project design stage to reframe the ‘cult of the expert’ have been some methods that have emerged from these co-design processes.

What is the existing framework for community members to vocalize concerns and have them addressed by the appropriate state/federal/tribal agency?

There are mechanisms built in to a number of local, state and federal planning and legislative processes for members of the community to object to certain proposals. Going to the media or political representatives can also be an effective way to raise the profile of certain concerns as well!

How has your cultural heritage shaped and/or influenced your professional career?

I’m not sure! Working in Australia I’m now more conscious of the diversity of cultural heritage here, including that of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and of the plethora migrant communities. Maybe it’s the cultural legacy of telling yarns, or just my interest in novels when I was younger, but now I’m drawn to the stories and emotions behind places and things and seem to look for opportunities to be able to explore them in my professional life.

About Sally:

Sally is an archaeologist and heritage professional based in regional New South Wales.

Questions from Regina Hilo in Hawaii, USA.

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My Day in Archaeology in Hawaii

With the beautiful Hawaiian sun shining and the prospect of visiting amazing pre-contact sites all at my fingertips, I find myself doing the un-sexy but truly important “office archaeology”. As a State archaeologist, I am doing what is very important, review and compliance. I take this seriously. It may not be the most sexy and exciting or appealing thing about doing archaeology here in Hawaii, but with this position comes huge responsibility. So while some of my colleagues may be out in the beautiful Hawaii landscapes, I find myself reading through a 1200 page archaeological inventory survey for an amazing piece of land, highly significant to our native culture here in Hawaii. Being Native Hawaiian myself, I see my position as being an important cog in the wheel of responsible development and progress. So I guess as I participate in the 2013 Day of Archaeology… I may not be doing fieldwork, but I am contributing to the field of archaeology in Hawaii by ensuring that I do my part in protecting my cultural heritage, the heritage of our State our Nation and our World… one report at a time!



Tattooing in Hawaii

Two tattooing comb blanks and three bird bone pick combs from Nu'alolo kai. The last pick is still blackened at the tip with pigment.

Aloha! Greetings from the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii! I am the Archaeology Collections Manager at the museum, which means that I get to take care of artifacts that museum archaeologists have excavated over the years as well as all the photographs and manuscripts that are associated with them.

Today I spent much of the day writing about bird bone picks in the museum’s collection, specifically those from the Nu’alolo kai site on Kauai. The European Association of Archaeologists is meeting in Olso, Norway this September and I am giving a paper about these picks as part of a session on Tattooing in Antiquity. A lot more is known about prehistoric tattooing practices in the Pacific Islands than many other places. We have shell and bone tattooing combs that have been excavated from a number of places. Tattooing is still a very active part of the cultural heritage of Pacific Islanders, with elaborate designs still being tapped into the skin with traditional methods in a number of places, such as Samoa.

The Hawaiian comb and brace system. These were excavated from the Big Island of Hawaii.

But there are many parts of the tattooing toolkit that are still unknown, and quite a variety of needles and raw materials are known to exist. Hawaii has a unique comb and brace system, where multiple combs are attached together with a brace, and then this multi-comb is attached to a handle. Some excavations have also identified simpler combs, sometimes fashioned from a bird bone pick and sometimes being from a single piece of thinned mammal bone.

Investigating these picks and tattooing implements is fascinating. While excavations can turn up new objects to analyze, the museum is also a great place to do research with existing collections!

Update of Day of Archaeology

First off, I would like to thank the people behind the Day or Archaeology. It just goes to show you not only the diversity of archaeology itself, but the archaeologists themselves. I’m sure this event will grow each year.

I’m a little disappointed on the contributions by the archaeologists from the United States, especially those of us from Hawaii where it seems I was the only one logged in to this event. I’m most certainly not the model representative for Hawaiian archaeology, not by a long shot.

Anyway to sum up last Friday, it’s a damn good feeling finishing up a report which is basically the product – what the client and the public pays me and my company for doing. After the fieldwork, many of these sites are no longer there, or no accessibility since you can’t leave and open excavation open indefinitely. You best get the report right as best as you can, because it may be the final say.

Once again a big Mahalo for all your efforts

Aloha nui loa,


From Day of Archaeology’s Bristol Office

As I write this, it’s 9.30 am on Saturday in the UK – which means it’s 10.30 pm on Friday in Hawaii (yes we have contributors in Hawaii). For most of the world, Day of Archaeology is over (although we will continue to publish posts for the next week). I am amazed, really very pleased, by just how many people embraced the idea of Day of Archaeology. Right now we have just under 360 posts published, with the promise of more to come. I’m told the #dayofarch hashtag was used over 900 times on Twitter during the day. I can’t begin to thank everyone who has been involved enough, from my fellow volunteers – Jess, Dan, Lorna, Andy, Stu and Tom – to all our contributors, and those who shared word of the day on facebook, twitter, Google+, academia.edu and other social media. What I hope we’ve created together is the single best resource to answer the question “what do archaeologists do?” Already, thanks to Terry Brock and Leigh Graves Wolf, work is underway turning the project into a schools teaching resource.

My day, unsurprisingly, was mostly spent checking through posts as they came in, occasionally altering them to make sure links to other sites or embedded videos worked, adding categories or tags if appropriate and (not too often actually) catching typos. I have no idea how many posts I checked, but I was consistently busy from 8 am to 6 pm and still working at 10.30 pm. I did grab the time to recruit one final volunteer for an archaeology engagement stand I’m helping to run at the Green Man music festival in Wales next month, but otherwise my day was all Day of Archaeology (how meta).

Had I not been doing this, I would most likely have been on site in Somerset, where I’m currently part of a team of commercial archaeologists excavating the surface of a former island now thoroughly inland, and buried under two metres of marine clay. The site occasionally yields some very nice lithics, such as this:

Flint arrowhead from Somerset

I may have been doing some lab work. I’m a part-time PhD student at Cardiff University, investigating environmental change throughout the period of human occupation in the Outer Hebrides. Mostly, this means I identify and count snail shells from samples taken in different features and layers on archaeological sites. You might think of the reasonably large snails you see in your garden when you read that, but there are many more species of snail that are truly miniscule – as small as 1mm in their largest dimension. Often these snails have very specific tolerances for the environmental conditions they can live in, which is especially informative when you have a few different species with similar tolerances occuring together.You can learn quite a lot about the use of different areas of a site from the snails. Some snail species arrived on the islands later than others, and I’m going to be working to date these arrivals as closely as possible, with the hope that the presence of a particular species in a deposit can become a tool for relative dating, much like archaeologists use particular types of ceramic or lithic form (the picture above, for example, is a classic Neolithic leaf-shaped arrowhead).

The day after Day of Archaeology will be spent (in part at least) reading through posts I didn’t get a chance to see yesterday. I’ve really enjoyed reading about other archaeologists’ working days around the world. I don’t think I’ve learned more about archaeology in a single day before. Day of Archaeology will return next year. Thank you all for making it such a positive experience

Matt Law


Early Morning or Late Night?

Well my Day of Archaeology isn’t over quite yet… I am tasked with the night shift for the DoA (having a very young child means I’m awake at weird times anyway!) and doing it really makes me realise what a global phenomenon archaeology is.

Here I am lying in bed at 04:03BST reading about all the very cool things that people got up to today in loads of countries around the world.

It’s been a great day, waking up all those hours ago to read about people’s days in Australia and now be approving posts from Hawaii! I think what is really clear from all of the posts is that whilst Archaeology might not be the best paid profession in the world, there is boredom, slog, bad weather, and even flat tires or broken equipment and yet everyone still seems to be having fun sometimes cake and most of all enjoying sharing their love of archaeology with their local and global community.

So, well done and thank you World for sharing your Day with us it’s been quite a ride and hopefully everyone feels like they have been part of something important. The archive of peoples days will stay here (who knows we may even print it out!) and archaeologists and anthropologists and historians of the future will dig it up and will know the state of the worldwide archaeological profession on the 29th of July 2011. They will probably also wonder why we were so interested in cats

I can hear the birds starting to sing outside – looks like it’s officially the 30th here in the UK, the posts coming in over the next couple of hours can be handled by the morning shift. Time for a few hours kip and then back at it.. Everyone knows the 30th is International Gin and Tonic Day right?