The first half of this travel archaeology class focused upon Big Island sites. When tides were too high to document petroglyphs and other shoreline features, inland sites were visited. Discussions about political allegiances and trade with foreigners, at the interisland and international levels, figured prominently. The importance of this southernmost island was highlighted, with in depth discussions of Captain Cook, King Kamehameha, and other history making individuals.
The second part of the adventure began the next month. At that time, we visited the northern island of Kauai. Here, we concentrated on two areas of history. One was the geopolitical separation between Kauai and the other islands, and the other was the significance of a Russian presence on Kauai. This included our exploring the remains of a Russian Fort, now being restored, and which overlooks Cook’s landing area. We also visited the ponds where salt is still collected. As salt was a necessary commodity during the fur trade, the economics of its production and the positioning of the Sandwich Islands were discussed. The story of how Cook’s records got into Russian hands, and the subsequent alliance between Kauai’s King Kaumuali’i and the Russians was explored.