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Glossary of Terms

ahupua‘a: a land division usually extending from the uplands (mauka) to the sea (makai), under the control of a chief (ali‘i ‘ai ahupua‘a).

ali‘i: chief.

ali‘i ‘ai moku: paramount chief of an independent chiefdom (moku).

Bishop Museum Project Number: department number assigned to a site, one to three digits in length and organized in chronological order from project initiation.

‘auwai: an irrigation ditch supplying water for pondfield cultivation.

Bishop Museum Site Number: a number assigned to an archaeological site by the Bishop Museum. Please note that there have been multiple systems for labeling an archaeological site at different points in time. For example, H1 and 50-Ha-B20-001 are both Bishop Museum Site numbers for the same archaeological site on Big Island. While the same site is also known as 50-10-76-3605 in the State Site Number system.

habitation complex and/or site: a place where humans occupied the land and resided carrying out day to day activities.

hale: house.

heiau: place of worship, shrine, temple. Some were elaborately constructed stone platforms and others were simple earth terraces. Often a heiau had a specific purpose, such as for treating sick or making offerings to insure good fishing.

‘ili: a land division, usually a subdivision of an ahupua‘a.

imu: underground earth oven.

kalo: the taro plant (Colocasia esculenta).

kapa: barkcloth, made from the paper mulberry plant (Broussonetia papyrifera) or from mamaki (Pipturus sp.).

koa: an endemic tree (Acacia koa), common in the dry forests, the wood of which was prized for canoes and other artifacts.

ko‘a: a fishing shrine.

ko‘i: stone adze or chisel.

kuaiwi: a long, low stone wall marking field boundaries in a dryland cultivation system (literally means “backbone”).

lo‘i: a pondfield for the cultivation of irrigated taro.

loko: a fishpond (also any body of enclosed water, as a lake or pool).

Lono: principal deity of agriculture and fertility.

Makahiki: an annual time of festivities, dedicated to the god Lono. This festival begins about the middle of October and lasts four months; certain events were taboo during this period, one example being war.

moku: an island or independent chiefdom.

mo‘o: a small unit of land, a subdivision of an ‘ili.

mua: men’s eating house, also containing the family shrine.

‘ohana: extended family, relative, or personal kindred.

pōhaku a Kāne: an upright stone dedicated to the god Kāne at which offerings were placed.

pu‘uhonua: a place of refuge or asylum.

‘ulu maika: a discoidal stone used in the maika bowling game.


Please note that all archaeological information, data and media pertaining to HAS is accurate to the chronological date at which the original archaeological fieldwork was completed. Also, all archaeological information, data and media contained herein is for the personal use of students, scholars and the public. Any commercial use or publication of these materials is strictly prohibited.
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