Urchin. It’s what’s for dinner.

Aloha kakou. This is what archaeological midden looks like in Hawaii. Sea urchin (wana) were collected by wading or diving in the shallows by the reef, and their internal organs and roe (eggs) were consumed raw. What was left over were their tests (shells), spines, and the hard parts of their mouths, which form a unique structure that biologists call ‘aristotle’s lantern’, due to its five-sided lightbulb-like shape. In this picture you can see the remains of the thick-spined red slate pencil urchin (ha’uke’uke ‘ula’ula), the spines of which were used to grind fishhooks, and also the diadem urchin (wana), and perhaps also a few other species. These urchins were collected and consumed in Kohala, Hawaii, approximately 300 years ago. Malama ‘aina.

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