'O ka mea hea ka paiko o kahikinui? = Which is the Pico of Kahikinui? : a primarily ethnohistorical perspective
Conte, Patty J.
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This thesis presents the results of an in-depth examination of a previously undisputed, long-held local oral history surrounding a wellknown 19th-century habitation site along the south coast of the island of Maui, Hawai'i. More specifically, it presents data and results from a detailed ethnohistorical, architectural, and archaeological investigation of Kahikinui House (State Inventory of Historic Places Number 50-50-15-1536), located in Kahikinui District, Maui, Hawai'i. The prevailing history associated with the site is that the house was built by a shipwrecked Portuguese sailor named Antone Pico from the wood of the wrecked ship and that this person also married a woman of royal lineage from the area. Accordingly, each aspect of the story surrounding Pico was tested following accepted ethnohistorical, architectural, and/or archaeological methods. Questions addressed by the study centered on the identity and ethnicity of the person believed responsible for construction of the house, whether or not the house was in fact built from the wood of a ship, overall site chronology, the identity of the person's wife, if she was from Kahikinui, whether she was of high status, and if so, whether Pico benefited from such a relationship. The findings of all work undertaken during the course of the project indicate that the majority of the tale in question is false. Perhaps the most important aspect of the work presented here is its illumination of the problems and consequences of relying solely upon local oral histories as a basis for archaeological research of a given topic. Evidence presented here sufficiently demonstrates that such histories may be poorly referenced and are often incredibly misleading. The availability of a fairly rich and diverse ethnohistoric record and the effort made to use it were important aspects of the current project because they provided the most assistance in answering research questions. Combined with the information, or lack of it, provided by the architectural and archaeological components of the study, a wellrounded and solidly based argument addressing research questions is presented.