Kirsten Vacca

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Berkeley, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9438

Approve Date

April 18, 2017

Project Title

Vacca, Kirsten Marquise G., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'A Question of Design: The Investigation of Space and Structure in Hawaiian Kauhale,' supervised by Dr.Patrick Kirch

KIRSTEN M. VACCA, then a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, California, was granted funding in April 2017 to aid research on ‘A Question of Design: The Investigation of Space and Structure in Hawaiian Kauhale,’ supervised by Dr. Patrick Kirch. This project examines how the design of 17th century Hawaiian kauhale (house complexes) structured social interactions of household members. The questions driving the excavation and analyses of multiple complexes were concerned with the use of space in, and variability between each kauhale. This information was then compared across class lines to evaluate the effect of status on the social structure of everyday life. A multi-scaler research design was employed in order to properly assess the degree of separation between household members that was enforced through the architecture. The methods funded were micromorphology, phytolith, and starch, sediment analyses (pH, loss on ignition, and particle size distribution). Synthesizing and interpreting these datasets allowed for linking spatially-located events to specific activities. Activities were identified from the material traces by comparing the data with previous archaeological research and historical information. By considering microfossils in conjunction with contextualizing information gleaned from the sediment analyses it was possible to identify activity areas that would have otherwise been erased from the material record through cleaning practices, abandonment or geological events. Further, the microarchaeological record provided vital information for understanding the complex relationship between status and household organization in 17th century Hawai’i.