Research & Publications


In addition to the basics of archaeology, the program will focus on research themes of island biogeography, evolution, ecology, human impacts, and the urgent needs of conservation and ecological restoration. Field work at Makauwahi Cave addresses multiple questions.

In joining this field project, students will have a unique opportunity to learn about method, theory, and field-laboratory techniques relevant to:

  • Excavation, surveying, & field data acquisition
  • Coring & sediment/soil description
  • Geoarchaeology & landscape evolution
  • Paleoclimate & natural history
  • Pollen analysis
  • Paleobotanical recovery & analysis (macrofossils/seeds)
  • Charcoal identification
  • Faunal recovery & analysis
  • Artifact recovery & analysis
  • Chronology
  • Human-induced environmental change
  • Human subsistence (foraging models, impacts)
  • Hawaiian & Polynesian ethnobotany
  • Hawaiian agricultural systems
  • Interdisciplinary paleoenvironmental reconstruction
  • Historical archaeology & post-contact environmental change
  • Ecological restoration & biological conservation
  • Community-based field research & application


We strongly encourage students to read some of the published research below.

Burney, D.A. and L. P. Burney, 2007. Paleoecology and “inter-situ” restoration on Kaua’i, Hawai’i. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 5 (9), 483-590.

Burney, D.A., 2011. Back to the Future in the Caves of Kaua’i: A Scientist’s Adventures in the Dark. Yale University Press.

Burney, D.A., and Flannery, T. F.,  2005. Fifty millennia of catastrophic extinctions after human contact. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20, 395–401

Burney et al 2001. Fossil Evidence For A Diverse Biota From Kaua‘i And Its Transformation Since Human Arrival. Ecological Monographs 71, 615–641.

Burney, D.A., Kikuchi, W.K.P., 2006. A Millennium of Human Activity at Makauwahi Cave, Maha`ulepu, Kaua`i. Human Ecology 34, 219–247.

Burney, L.P., Burney, D.A., 2003. Charcoal Stratigraphies for Kaua‘i and the Timing of Human Arrival. Pacific Science 57, 211–226.

Hunt, T. L. 2005. Archaeological Stratigraphy and Chronology at Nu’alolo Kai, Na Pali District, Kaua’i. Na mea Kakiko o Kaua’i. Archaeological Studies in Kaua’i (2), 236-258.

Morrison, A.E., Hunt, T.L., 2007. Human Impacts on the Nearshore Environment: An Archaeological Case Study from Kaua‘i, Hawaiian Islands. Pacific Science 61, 325–245.



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