Koehana are tangible remains of our culture and history as they create a direct link to our kūpuna. The conservation and use of koehana present us with rich cultural knowledge that can be used to appreciate and strengthen connections to our kūpuna. Kanaka ‘Ōiwi can learn about our culture, history, spirituality, and ultimately our identity from koehana.
The Wahi Kupuna 3D Mapping Project was developed by Kamehameha Schools’ Wahi Kūpuna Program as an educational and community resource providing virtual access to wahi kupuna within KS’ ‘āina to preserve, perpetuate, and embody the traditions of our kūpuna. This gallery contains a 3D models of koehana from cultural heritage sites within Kaʻūpūlehu. The collection includes adzes, fishhooks, heʻe lure components, bone awls, mortars, pestles, and other important traditional tools and artifacts.
Diving into Kaʻūpūlehu
The ancient landscape of Ka‘ūpūlehu was dry and harsh, but springs along and just off‐shore made it possible to survive. The coastline was an oasis of coconut and hala (Pandanus) trees around shallow anchialine ponds (land‐locked ponds with underground connections to the ocean). The ocean waters were rich with fish and other marine animals. Houses clustered around the small ponds called Wai‐puna‐lei (garland of springs) in southern Ka‘ūpūlehu. Local trails connected residences to small gardens, scattered farm shelters, canoe landings, and freshwater sources. Longer routes linked coastal homes to upland communities. Koehana from the inland sites include marine shell and fishing gear that demonstrate a tie to the ocean, either through trade or by community sharing. The story of the legendary fisherman and farmer Mākālei, for example, describes regular travels of people between the coast and uplands, exchanging products of the sea for products of the land.
Koehana in Kaʻūpūlehu
The koehana of Ka‘ūpūlehu include 4,800 artifacts, representing daily activities like fishing, tool‐making, and food processing, as well as ornaments and ceremonial objects. Koehana also include food remains (called midden) like marine shell, and fish, bird, mammal, and turtle bone. It even includes commonplace dirt (or soil, to be more specific) that may contain fine, or even microscopic,
fragments of plant remains.