June 2006, my students conducted an archaeological excavation of the Upper Halawa lo’i. A lo’i is made by constructing a set of terraces, either of stone or of earth, which is used to pond water across a broad area. Kalo (taro, Colocasia esculenta) can grow in dry soil, but it produces larger, juicier corms if it is planted in shallow water that can slowly drain, bringing in nutrients and oxygen. We excavated beneath the walls of the lo’i of Upper Halawa in order to collect tiny flecks of charcoal, which were deposited when the land was cleared and the lo’i was constructed. In that way, we can determine the age, using radiocarbon dating, of the installation of the lo’i. Malama ‘aina.

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