Categorized | Environment

Field seminar takes walk through time (March 31)

Hawaiians once lived and thrived in the coastal lowland area of Kealakomowaena, where they created ancient trails, agricultural fields, lava rock walls, and house sites. (Photo courtesy of NPS)


On Saturday, March 31, the public is invited to take a walk through time and learn how Hawaiians living in the shadow of Pele adapted to life on a lava landscape.

From 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., archeologist Jadelyn Moniz Nakamura leads the field seminar “Kealakomowaena: Life on a Lava Landscape” in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

“See ancient trails, agricultural fields, lava rock walls, and house sites as we explore the challenges life presented to those living in this leeward ahupuaa of the Puna district,” Nakamura said.

“We will discuss the latest radiocarbon data for the area, what the pollen and charcoal records have revealed, and why this seemingly barren place was likely chosen as a spot to farm,” she added.

Kealakomowaena is an island of vegetation, or kipuka, spared by recent lava flows in the middle of the Kealakomo ahupuaa (land division). Hawaiians thrived in this coastal lowland area, growing sweet potatoes, harvesting fish, and drying salt.

Jadelyn Moniz Nakamura is the integrated resources manager/archeologist at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Born and raised in Hilo, Nakamura holds a B.A. in in History and Anthropology, an M.A. in Anthropology, and a PhD. in Archaeology, all from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Her research interests and specialties are pre-contact Hawaiian archeology, specializing in faunal and paleoenvironmental analysis.

This field seminar is rated moderate, with approximately 3 miles of hiking round-trip on rough terrain with lots of tripping hazards. Hikers should be in good condition, able to do without shade all day in a remote, rugged area.

This event is presented by the Hawaii Volcanoes Institute, a program of the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a non-profit organization.

Program cost is $45 for Friends members and $65 for non-members. Students (K-12 and college with valid student ID) are half-price. Non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to get the member discount.

To register for “Kealakomowaena: Life on a Lava Landscape,” call 985-7373 or visit

This program is funded in part by the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or reasonable modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should email or call 985-7373 as soon as possible, but no later than five days prior to the program start.

Born and raised in Hilo, Jadelyn Moniz Nakamura holds a PhD. in Archaeology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and works in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park specializing in pre-contact Hawaiian archeology. (Photo courtesy of NPS)

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