Land Snail Extinctions at Kalaeloa, O`ahu

T.S. Dye1 and H.D. Tuggle2

International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., 2081 Young St. Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
1T.S Dye 2H.D. Tuggle

Cite this as: Dye, T.S. and Tuggle, H.D. 2001 Land Snail Extinctions at Kalaeloa, O`ahu, Internet Archaeology 10.


In this article we show that the interpretation of Polynesian influence drawn from the stratigraphic record of sub-fossil land snails at Kalaeloa (O'ahu, Hawai'i) is based on a unique stratigraphic sequence at a single sinkhole. The interpretation was then applied to other land snail sequences, despite their lack of evidence for Polynesian influence. We present a reanalysis of the stratigraphic record to conclude that Polynesians had little, if any, effect on land snail populations in sinkholes. We show that directional change in land snail populations was underway before Polynesians colonised the islands. Decreases in the diversity of snail populations, possibly indicative of environmental stress, do occur near the end of the stratigraphic sequence. Based on available dating evidence, however, these changes probably took place in the post-Contact period when the regional environment was radically altered by sugar cane cultivation.

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