Lanai students use new technology to map out ancient Hawaiian village

Published: Nov. 24, 2008 at 7:24 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 26, 2008 at 5:04 PM HST
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Kepa Maly
Kepa Maly
Sheldon Eskaran
Sheldon Eskaran

By Howard Dashefsky - bio | email

LANAI (KHNL) - In this Earth and Sea Project report we return to the island of Lanai where students use new age technology, to map out an ancient Hawaiian fishing village.

Once finished, the area will become a place of learning, for locals and visitors alike.

Just off the perimeter of the very manicured Four Season's Resort overlooking Manele Bay, sits another, more rugged village from another era.

This is the Kapiha'a Preservation Area. A 28-acre site where some of the first Hawaiian settlers lived, worked, played, and worshipped.

"There's an amazing fishing area below us, there's a heeiau and perhaps one of the most beautiful coral fishing shrines anywhere in the islands overlooking this amazing fishery of Hulupo'e," said Kepa Maly of Lanai Culture & Heritage Center.

Students map out the area using global positioning satellite equipment.

They pin point the dozens of archeological sites that will eventually be connected by an interpretive trail.

It'll allow visitors to carefully walk through the village that dates back more than 700 years, and get a feel for how people lived.

"You'd have to be a very strong person to live here because you'd have to go all the way from mauka to Makai, from the mountains to the ocean to get you food if you wanted it," said Sheldon Eskaran, a freshman at Lanai High School. "You have to survive over here".

Once completed the trail will give visitors a chance to experience some of the island's deep and rich culture.

All the while, surrounded by some of the state's most precious natural resources.

"Now we have these visual opportunities these view planes, there will be signs and visuals to tell the story, to engage people so that it's more than just a pile of rocks and overgrowth. It's real life, real history," said Maly.

And perhaps most important, the trail will offer an enduring link that will connect the past, with the future.

"It's my home," said Eskaran." "It's the place I live and I just want to get in touch with the environment around me".

"If we can get these kids involved, students involved in their history they're going to become stewards and they will help us ensure things are passed on to future generations. What makes Lanai unique," said Maly.

The trail, complete with landmarks and signage, should be ready to welcome the first visitors by March of 2009.