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Daily Blog for Shelby Eagleburger


Day 15, June 17

Posted on June 18, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Today was a bit of a hodge-podge. The morning hours were spent refining our research interests and trying to come up with a workable question. I have waffled back and forth over many idea but now I think I’ve found one I am happy with and that I think is doable given the time and resources constraints. It’s still a work in progress and quite rough but while working in Ka’a’awa valley it became apparent that the walls in the front of the valley that run down the slope seemed to be related to each other in a very particular manner. I plan to measure the slope, elevation, orientation, and spacing of the walls in order to find any unifying factors that may be common throughout them all. Finding a common type of terrain that may indicative of these features. I plan on mapping the length, angle, elevation, soil type, and presence of water in the area to get a better idea of the types of environment that was sought for these features. If we are able to determine the relationship between the features and the environment it can serve as a predictive model for other comparable sites. During this process I intend to explore the extent of this group of features since only a small portion have been documented. Hopefully this information will allow us a better sense of their intended use. I began looking for articles and literature that would help me understand the features I was seeing and that might give me some insight into the problem.
At about eleven I headed to the valley and took a look around the area of interest in order to refresh my memory, take some notes, and snap some quick pictures. After about two hours I stopped for lunch at which time the much anticipated botanist showed up to help the vegetation group with identifying some of the plant species. I decided to go with them and perhaps pick up some useful knowledge. Three cars went and after about fifteen minutes with the experts, my car, which apparently contained most of the hydrology group, headed to pick up Dr. Becker and take some preliminary salinity readings in order to seek out the fresh water seeps that are found off the coast. I was very poorly attired in my hiking boots to be walking on the beach however I made due as best as possible. It was interesting to see the equipment that they were using. I also managed to talk to Dr. Wechsler for a bit which was very nice. One this was done we headed back to the barn where Greg, Gordon, and Audrey were preparing the food. I must say that they did a wonderful job. After dinner I took a walk to the beach and back with Courtney. These evening group walks are becoming something of a tradition which is nice. Although we were slated to talk about our ideas and questions tonight apparently that has been postponed until tomorrow morning. I’m interested to see what everyone has in mind in the morning.

Day 14, June 16

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Today began by working on our presentation that we were all giving about our common product later. Jessica decide what our talking points should be and created our PowerPoint. After a quick impromptu lunch and some tidying in expectation of the professor’s visit the grad students began arriving followed by the professors. The geology group presented first. It was extremely interesting to see what everyone had been working on for the past week. They had some really interesting points that fed into my own observations and questions. There seems to be an interesting correlation between the old and new alluvial soil boundary and where we have been finding sites. The New alluvial soil is located on the south slope where we identifies the most features. It isn’t particularly surprising considering the fact that the soil would have been much better for any agricultural practices. We then did our own and the professors brought up some interesting points. After we had presented our findings of the survey the other groups went. They were fantastic and enlightening. They had told us that the presentation should be about ten minutes each, but everyone ended up closer to half an hour. There was just so much information to get through. After everyone had gone we broke for lunch. As we reconvened the profs discussed what sorts of questions they were interested in answering which was very insightful. I think I’ve decided what I want to research. I have noticed certain trends in where we are finding sites, particularly those that are agricultural in nature. I hope to delve into answering what factors provide a suitable site for precontact people to cultivate food. I think there will be a distinct soil type, hydrological pattern, elevation, and whatnot. I still need to refine my actual question but it’s a place to start. We also signed up for dinner duty. Courtney, Julianna, and I are in a group so that’ll be fun when it’s our turn to cook. After all of that was over by way of Kerry’s suggestion Courtney, Julianna, Jessica, Kerry, Gordon, and I decided that we had been inside for too long and needed to get some blood flowing to our legs so we decided to walk. It was pitch black outside and we took our flashlights with us encountering some ridiculous spiders, frogs, centipedes, and cows along the way. WE ended up walking along the coast for about five miles. I am now exhausted and ready for bed. I’m going to try to get back to blogging like usual since the last few days have been so rushed. More adventures tomorrow I’m sure!

Day 13, June 15

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

We started the day working on refining and filtering our data. Jessica and I spent most of the morning on our computers we then all got ready for an evening outing to north shore. We parked at the beach and walked down into town. Most of the groups decided to eat down at the local Mexican place while Courtney, Audrey, and I sat down at a Thai food truck. Audrey ordered food and Courtney and I ate our packed lunches that we brought to avoid spending money. After we were done eating we walked back to the beach to go for a swim. The bathroom changing rooms were awful but we quickly dressed and headed to the ocean. The water was colder than our beach at the ranch and there were lots of rocks. It was nice to swim but I soon ended up just laying in the sun with Julianna and Peter. All the others were scattered about. One car had to go back early even though no one particularly cared to. Courtney and I ended up going. We had a wonderful chat with Scott since he drove us on the way back. Such a nice and interesting guy, It was strange being the only two at the barn. Since everyone else was eating dinner at north shore we improvised with some leftover fried rice. We then passed the evening by watching the magic school bus which was quite the trip into memory lane. Once the others got back about four hours later we surprised the birthday boy with a cake and celebrated his 21’st. I quickly retired to bed.

Day 12, Jue 14

Posted on June 16, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Today we began by stopping at the visitor center to watch a short movie about the history of Kualoa Ranch. It was interesting to see the different phases that the piece of property has been through throughout the ages. There was also a room that contained documents and displays related to the history. There were some interesting historical maps, one in particularly from the late 19th century that showed the presence of two fish ponds near the front of the property. There was also an interesting (albeit somewhat inaccurate) model of the terrain, and some impressive wood carvings of boar, running horses, and a giant bowl. Dr. Wechsler also joined us today which is great. Although all of the professors are awesome it’s nice to have some female presence.
We split off into multiple groups again today to finish our last official day of data collection for the common products Jeanette and Courtney joined me while Jessica and her crew headed to the front of the valley to continue work on the walls that they had seen before. My group talked to Dr. Lipo and we decided to look into the fish ponds that we found depicted on the old hand drawing. We walked down the road to where it intersects the main highway and the coast. Since the sea level was higher in the past, we had to keep in mind hat features might be further inland than might be expected. There was a depression that looked as if it might be what was shown in the illustration. It was difficult to tell however and there was no bounding or defining wall. On our walk parallel to the coast we managed to unknowingly go too fat and ended up turning down a wrong road. As we continued we found ourselves on a property with a total menagerie of animals. Goats, sheep, geese, chickens, ponies, horses, pigs, dogs…. Everywhere. We were then followed by a group of barking Chihuahuas until we found our way to the proper property line. Since we weren’t sure where the closest gate was we ended up belly crawling under a fence gap, which seems to be a trend lately, just as the owner was driving up. We then decided to explore the fell house dug into the cliff face that we found previously. Some others from our group were there as also. It was fun to climb into the pitch black tunnel and explore. WE had been hoping to see the laser scanner which was set up to go but we barely missed it, which stinks.
Once back at the ranch Courtney and I decided to go for a swim before starting on the data processing. It was very refreshing after being hot and sweaty all day. On our way back we saw two horses who looked suspiciously like out downstairs roommates standing in the road. WE then saw Dr. Wechsler trying to herd them back into the gate. Courtney went to get additional hands while Dr. Wechsler and I attempted to herd them in the right direction with very little success. We ended up going in circles around the neighbor’s house until the Dave showed up to round them up. Once that adventure was over Jessica and I continued processing our data and troubleshooting problems. We were able to get all of our points imported and started cleaning up the attribute tables. We also began sorting through the geotagged photos and organizing all of our information. We then decided to take a break for some experimental archaeology of our own. Jessica and I had collected pocketfuls of kakui nuts the day before because John had told us stories of how natives used them like candles to burn. We all got together and cracked them open. They were obviously at different stages of maturity. Some were brown, oily, and gooey inside, while others resembled traditional nuts that you would eat. Courtney and I tasted them (not sure there usually eaten) and they tasted like mild walnuts. Oily one we light on fire and they burned quite impressively and for a long time in comparison to their size. It was a very amusing way to end the evening.

Day 11, June 13

Posted on June 15, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Today we switched up our field teams, distributing the individuals who were already done with their common product field collections among the archaeology and vegetation groups. Jessica took her group to the front of the valley in order to look for the walls that Dr. Lipo had seen earlier. Jeanette and I headed to the very back where the two ridges meet. The vegetation was ridiculously thick. The ferns in particular were overrunning the area. I think it was a testament to the extremely wet conditions. By the time we returned my pants were red from the muddy clay that covered the ground. It was extremely swampy and rained a couple times, but that was actually a nice relief from the heat. We climbed and pushed our way through the area but came up frustratingly empty handed. I understand that not every area can hold a wealth of features, but you always hope to stumble across a treasure.
Williams Aerospace came to fly their UAV’s, which I was able to watch briefly. It was quite impressive to see the control and precision they had over their hand built aircraft. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some good imagery from the flights. On the way back home, by popular demand, we stopped by the shave ice shop. It seems like one of those quintessential things one must eat while in Hawai’i. After coming home and working on our points, with much tinkering and troubleshooting, we decide to give ourselves a break and play a very animated card game. It was a good way to end the day and let loose.

Day 10, June 12

Posted on June 13, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Today was another field day. After the usual morning routine we arrived at the site. Since some of the groups were done with their portion of the common product they were slip up to help the other teams. Jeanette became a part of ours which was really nice especially since John wasn’t there anymore. WE started by walking around the front of the northern face. At first we took the wrong road and had to circle back around but we eventually made it to the junction of the grass and the bedrock face.  It was an extremely step scramble with the thick roots and loose stones. We didn’t find anything of note in the area and headed back to the southern slope. We were following a horse trail and came across some possible terraces. In one particular thicket we found a large accumulation of rocks and boulders that we think might be the remains of a habitation site. That was probably the most interesting feature we came across today. It was terribly hot and when it started raining we were all so excited and breathed a sigh of relief. On the ride back to the ranch the car was full of laughter. We immediately headed out to cool out with a dip in the ocean. Everyone was having a great time. After dinner we worked on importing our data and troubleshooting. We even managed to import our geotagged photos corresponding to the points into ArcGIS and have them as pop-up windows. This is a really cool new feature on the 10.1 version. I’m exhausted from another full day and look forward to another productive day.

Day 9, June 11

Posted on June 12, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

I was quite slow this morning in getting up. I was awake at the usual time of six, but for some reason it took me at least half an hour to really wake up all the way. That’s quite unusual for me. Once I was finally up with my lunch packed, breakfast consumed, and bags packed, we headed out to the site for the day. We met up with John again ad decided how we wanted to structure our day. After talking to Jeanette about the features she had spotted the previous day we decided to start out on the south side of the valley. We crawled under some electric fences in order to get to the ridges foothills. As we scoured the slopes we came across a couple very clear terraces and the remnants of what was most likely terraces that had been heavily disturbed. We followed this particular canyon up all the way to the bedrock cliff face on Jessica’s suggestion. Here there was a concrete well that collected water from a spring that emerged from the cliff face. It was mentioned by the owner previously as being built by his great grandfather and still an active water source. At this point John and I climbed up to the rim in order to get a better view. It was a bit precarious but the field of view that it afforded was well worth it. We continued towards the east and then came across a fantastic stone wall. It extended extremely far up the slope running in a north south fashion. We mapped these features as best we could given the heavy vegetation cover and lack of satellite visibility. We then headed back down the valley floor for a short lunch stop.

The second half of the work day was much more uncomfortable with the heat starting to climb and the slopes beginning to increase in grade. We went to the north side in order to check out some features that we had seen from the other side and thought might be terraces. The grade was extremely taxing and were sweating up a storm by the time reached our target destination. There was some stone scatter, but nothing definitive, which was disappointing after such a hard hike. As we were descending I happened to notice a huge boulder in a heavily vegetated area so we went over to take a closer look. We soon discovered that it seemed to be a very large stone feature of unknown use. This was the second or third of this kind that we had found. All of them seem to have been under dense vegetation and brush. This is probably because it grows around the stones since the cows cannot eat the grass in the area. Jessica also noticed the presense of a distinctive looking tree with red plumes athat accompanied the sites we found. This may complete coincidence or it may not. The incredibly thick plant cave makes both seeing features and navigating through them extremely difficult. I hasd so many hundreds of stickers on my pants that you could hardly see the fabric underneath in plaeces. Courtney and Adudrey were nice enough to help me scape them all of after we got back. We headed home and discussed the plan for tomorrows work. We hope to visit the norh eastern part of the slope especially the feature that Courtney foun consisteing of a burnt out hollow. I am very grateful that my cohorts are nice enough to keep their eyes open for things that may be of interest to our group.

Once back at home we had a lovely dinner and Courtney and I did the dishes sinceit was our day to do so. Afterwards Jussica and I worked on getting our Trimble to connect. After over an hour of frustrated trouble shooting we finally were able to download our data by using a different computer. We then had to modify our data dictionary to work correctly. It took a while to get everything worked out and it was a relief when we finally did. There was much groaning at the computer in the process. Now I’m more than grateful to be going to bed because it’s been a long day indeed.

Day 8, June 10

Posted on June 11, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

I woke up this morning after a great night’s sleep in one of the hammocks. I can understand why it’s such a popular sleeping arrangement in South America. I ate breakfast and made my lunch, preparing for a day in the field. As the graduate students and professors arrived we began to work on finishing our data dictionaries. Jessica and I talked with Dr. Lipo about our classification system and it allowed us to refine our methodology and gave us a better grasp on the type of identifiers that would be useful. After getting a good draft on paper we entered them into the computer and synced it to the Trimble unit. I still can’t get over how sophisticated these GPS’s are compared to the small commercial devices I have used in the past. The ability to create polygons and lines along with points is extremely useful, not to mention the degree of accuracy that they are able to maintain.

After another liberal dose of bug spray and sunscreen we loaded up and headed out to the ranch. It was quite hot outside and it was immediately apparent that it wasn’t going to be cooling down anytime soon. John was with us which was great. He is extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and it’s nice to have a former program participant to give some insight. After learning the basic commands needed to operate the devices and equipping ourselves with walkie talkies we broke off and started discussing the best way to go about collecting data. We weighed going through the valley in a systematic grid like way or documenting the features that we already knew were there and seeking out areas that seem likely to have them. In the end it was decided that due to multiple factors including the size of the valley and the goals of the project that we would do the latter. We started by walking along the road searching the visible area looking for the features that had been pointed out to us yesterday. During our trek we came across a few possible sites composed of many stones along the ground that looked out of place on the landscape. John was very helpful especially since I have no experience of what to expect in terms of Hawaiian architecture and archaeological remains. One was particularly interesting, across from the central stream was a large grouping of stones in what might have been in a somewhat circular pattern, but it was very much disturbed as would be expected. It took us along time to find the first feature that we were looking for. Things look much different on foot than on a bus. Once we did find it we had trouble acquiring enough satellites to mark a point because of the thick overhead canopy cover. An offset will probably be necessary to accurately map this particular one. It probably won’t be the only one. After eating lunch with Emily and Michelle we returned to meet with everyone. Jeanette told us both the terraces she had seen during her own surveying which was very exciting since that is one of the main features we were hoping to find. That is where we plan to begin tomorrow morning.

Once back at home base some people went on Aron to the store while another decided to wind down with a dip in the ocean. I decided to head to the beach. It was a nice way to cap off a day spent hiking in the heat. I am still surprised at how warm the pacific is. Swimming is always fun, but this time I had a personal encounter with one of the small blue jellyfish that I saw earlier. I got a stung across my forearm and it left a burning welt, but it passed before too long. We ate dinner which was great as ever. After eating we had a small house meeting to touch on some domestic logistics. We then attempted to download the information from the Trimble’s that we had taken. It is not a difficult process but for some reason the particular unit that we used was not connecting to the computer. We will have to resolve it tomorrow. I have a feeling that tomorrow will be more productive now that we have an idea of what to do.  I’m looking forward to it!

Day 7, June 9

Posted on June 10, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

I woke at six am to the lovely sounds of roosters and the warm sea breeze. That is a lovely way to start the day. My spot on the couch turned out to be an ideal spot. Everyone roused themselves and began to get ready to face the day. We sat to breakfast outside and I can’t help but enjoy the sense of comradery that has already formed within the group. We had some time before the first scheduled event of the day so Courtney and I took a walk down to the beach. As we walked there were hundreds and hundreds of tiny blue jellyfish washed ashore. The looked like little bubbles dotting the sand. The ocean is so majestic but it contains some of the strangest creatures you could imagine. The locals are all so friendly and waved as we passed by. On the return trip we managed to pass our turn and ended up waking an extra half mile or so, but it wasn’t an unpleasant way to spend a morning at all.

We were then joined my Dr. Hunt and the other professors for a lecture on the history and archaeology of Hawai’i. I was very excited to hear it since my knowledge of the subject is little to none. He spoke of how the islands were populated which was completely fascinating. Dr. Hunt and Dr. Lipo work together to study just this topic and it was great to hear their theories and compare them to common belief. I found their explanations to make perfect sense. It’s good to see people who aren’t afraid to defy common belief in order to learn the truth. I was also able to learn quite a bit about the agricultural practices of the pre-contact populations which will be extremely useful in the next week with identifying associated archeological feat-res in the field.

We all scrambled to grab a quick lunch before loading up the vans to get a first real look at kualoa ranch. The owner of the ranch met us out front of the main building and we loaded onto one of their tour busses. They give regular tours and offer ATV and horseback riding for the tourists. He was extremely friendly and seemed genuinely interested in our work. The valley is even more impressive up close than afar. You can really tell just how large these mountains are and the ridiculous slope that they have. He pointed out many interesting features including stream locations, historic foundations, caves, charcoal caves, and much more, He was able to also give accounts of family lore which might prove helpful. We passed all sorts of movie props from films such as Jurassic park, lost, and Godzilla. A one point when we left the bus to look in the woods at a set of features we were immediately swarmed by sounds of mosquitos. I do not exaggerate. I have never seen so many at once. Everyone began swatting and spraying bug spray furiously. Eventually most of us were forced to retreat to the relive safety of the clearing. My legs, arms, and back were covered in dozens itchy welts. I don’t know why I always attract them and react so severely. Compared to some I got of quite easy. One of the boys had almost fifty bites covering his arms and legs. After that little adventure we stopped by an exhibit on the movies filmed on the ranch.

We then returned back to our barn and began work on our data dictionaries. Jessica and I collaborated and eventually cam e

Day 6, June 8

Posted on June 9, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

I woke up at six am, anticipating the trip that was in store. As we finished packing the last of our items and gathered at the front of the hotel with all of our assorted bags and cases the shuttles arrived to take us to LAX. We were each assigned a second carry on, mostly electronic equipment. We made quite the site with our mountain of luggage to check and carry in the middle of the airport. Despite the sheer number of people and things I think heck in went rather smoothly. There were a few minor issues with bag weights, but they were quickly resolved. Going through security was quite interesting. I had my computer in my backpack along with two more in my additional carryon. Coupled with those, bags and everything else, I’m pretty sure I filled almost five bins on my own. Luckily everything passed without trouble. From what I hear, not everyone was so lucky. We then headed to the terminal to wait. It was quite full so we decided to sit in a corner and break out the snacks we had bought the day before. WE didn’t have to wait too long before boarding. I managed to sleep for about an hour of the flight. I was very impressed with Hawaiian airlines. They were very friendly, had a clean and roomy plane, and served a meal en route. They even had small personal touchscreens in the back of the head rests that could tell you altitude, speed, time, distance, and a map of your location. The light lasted about five hours and I was glad to land and get a chance to stretch my legs.

I have officially arrived in Hawai’i!  We trekked to the baggage claim to find all the bags we had checked. It was surprisingly quick and efficient. We then waited for the vans to come and pick us up. WE piled shoved and squeezed everyone and all our things in and started heading to the Ranch. I was buzzing with excitement the entire ride. I was in a van with Dr. Lee, Kerry, Julianna, and Greg. As we drove we were able to see how completely beautiful this island is. We drove down the coast, admiring the pristine water and beaches. We then started winding through the mountains. The sheer denseness of the vegetation and steepness of the ridges was mind blowing. We all kept exclaiming out loud our disbelief that we were in this situation. I feel so lucky. As we go closer we began to recognize the area and features from looking at the satellite imagery for the past week. As we rounded the corner and kualoa ranch came into view I was almost speechless. I knew how large the area is, but the reality is almost overwhelming. I can’t believe we get to study in such a spectacular place.

AS we reached our home for the next three weeks, trade winds ranch we were greeted with the sight of horses and cows grazing in the pasture. There were horses (very friendly), cows, chickens everywhere, and goat (chilling on a golf cart). The smell of the farm reminded me of home, and seeing the horses made me a bit nostalgic. The barn itself that we are housed in is pretty much the coolest place ever. I would live there if I could. The bottom floor is a working stable, as you walk up the stairs it is a large open main room containing couches, tables, kitchen, pool table, and everything one could possibly need. There are also three bedrooms and two bathrooms in the corners of the building. There are two huge porches and the barn opens up on three sides so it is almost completely open air. Our hosts were so thoughtful in everything they provided. Blankets, beds, couches, cots, hammocks, and everything else you could need.  We then called our sleeping spots. After exploring the area for a while we returned for dinner which was provided by our host. It was absolutely delicious and more than welcome after a long flight. Kerry was kind enough to go out and buy groceries. She’s always so helpful and good at getting everyone rounded up. We rounded out the day with a walk down the beach which is literally right down the driveway. We jumped in the pacific and swam. I’m very glad I thought to bring my waterproof camera. It was a lovely site. The only bad part is all the mosquitos. It seems that I am being eaten alive even while a bathe in bug spray. But that’s alright, I’m certainly used to it. I’m looking forward to see what tomorrow brings!

About Shelby Eagleburger

My name is Shelby Eagleburger. I'm a senior Grography (GIS) and Anthropoogy student at the University of Missouri- Columbia.