Moving within the ‘A‘ā: The Influence of Liminality in the Hinterlands of Manukā, Ka‘ū, Hawai‘i Island

Author(s): Nick Belluzzo

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Rethinking Hinterlands in Polynesia" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Situated at the transition between windward and leeward sides of the island of Hawai‘i, Manukā is a tapestry of environmental and sociopolitical gradients perpetually reconfigured by the lava flows from Mauna Loa. As a geographically liminal region, place-names describe it as where "the trade winds of Ka‘ū give way to the gentle breezes of Kona." The result is a high ecological diversity providing numerous agricultural opportunities, albeit within small and widely dispersed clusters. However, the discontinuous and diffuse nature of environmental resources in this region mandated novel subsistence and settlement strategies, solutions which were enabled by the sociopolitical liminality of Manukā, residing in the boundary between rival cores. This facilitated fluid regional political affiliations, allowed non-elite mobility, and empowered local agency and innovation in social and subsistence practices. This paper explores notions of social and spatial liminality and deploys these concepts to define a model of hinterlands based on regional dynamics within an island setting. It does so through a preliminary geospatial analysis of settlement patterns, networks of movement, and symbols of authority and community. The results assert hinterlands as spaces for active and creative social negotiation within existing political structures and networks.

Cite this Record

Moving within the ‘A‘ā: The Influence of Liminality in the Hinterlands of Manukā, Ka‘ū, Hawai‘i Island. Nick Belluzzo. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451387)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 117.598; min lat: -29.229 ; max long: -75.41; max lat: 53.12 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 26001