Hamakua is one of the six traditional districts of Hawai`i Island. It faces the sea on the northeastern end of the island, well north of Hilo. Today, Honoka`a is Hamakua's best known town, and the coast has strong historical associations with its recently closed sugar industry. But Hamakua also includes the large valleys of Waipi`o and Waimanu beyond Honoka`a, the often snowcapped Mauna Kea, and even extends beyond Mauna Kea across the center of the island to the crater of Mauna Loa where Hamakua looks down into Kona. This paper is a synthesis of settlement patterns and general preservation problems relevant to the archaeological sites found in this large district.
Hamakua has not been the center of archaeological discussions for decades, largely because the sugar cane industry had long been in place and also because development and contract archaeology have been focused elsewhere on the island. Also, it is assumed that few archaeological sites remain because of widespread land alteration by the sugar cane industry. However, this district has much greater archaeological potential than commonly perceived.
excerpts from introduction