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Michelle Toomay Douglas and Rona Michi Ikehara
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Department of Anthropology, Honolulu, HI 96822
Human skeletal remains representing 38 individuals were recovered from the Keoneloa Bay Villas project area, Weliweli and Pa'a ahupua'a, south Kaua'i, Hawai'i, in 1990-1991. The 13 males, 19 females, and six sub adults are representative of a village cemetery population.
The remains were highly disturbed by ongoing construction activity, past sand mining operations, cattle ranching and human, animal and vehicular traffic. Completeness of the skeletal remains ranges from substantially complete skeletons to a single mandible. Two of the skeletons are believed to predate the cultural layer at the site (A.D. 1150 - 1370), and at least three others are suspected to have died after European contact.
The cranial and intercranial metric and non-metric observations indicate the remains are of Polynesian ancestry. There are unexpected sex differences in the frequencies of some of the traits and indications of variability between this sample from Kaua'i and other comparative island populations. The males were 5 feet 7 inches in height and the female stature averaged 5 feet 3 inches.
Paleopathological observations in the remains indicate that the dental health was generally good, with a low frequency of caries and abscessing. There are indications of spinal tuberculosis in three adults, a fracture non-union of the femoral neck in a single male, and the unusual occurrence of an amputation of the arm below the elbow. There is slight osteoarthritis of the appendicular and vertebral skeleton.
This report provides the first comprehensive discussion of the physical remains of Hawaiians from the island of Kaua'i and suggests that there may be real inter-island differences which require additional analysis and skeletal samples.