- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust has been working with a landowner to protect a mostly intact fishing village in South Kona that was likely abandoned in the late 1800s.

The village in the Alae area is among several lots owned by the Foti family that are up for sale, the Kailua-Kona newspaper West Hawaii Today (https://bit.ly/1BIB4RQ ) reported.

Janet Britt, the acquisitions specialist and director for the trust’s Hawaii Island division, said the organization is working with the family to secure an easement or preserve on about 25 acres.

“We don’t know yet what the avenue will be but he does want to protect this land forever,” she said Saturday.

The village has numerous terraces that once served as platforms for homes. A heiau borders the northern edge and a flattened agricultural area.

“We were able to do charcoal samples for two of the house platforms that we tested and the dates were right around Captain (James) Cook time (1779),” said Tyler Paikuli-Campbell, a National Park Service archaeologist who studied the Alae area several years ago.

It’s not clear when people first inhabited the area. But he believes people started living there several generations before the British explorer’s arrival in Hawaii because of the size and complexity of the area’s modifications.

Archaeologists haven’t determined exactly why or when the village was abandoned but believe people left after the Great Mahele of 1848. That’s because there’s visible evidence of land division, a practice that went into effect around that time. Archaeologists also don’t know how the inhabitants got water, which may have played a role in the shift away from Alae.

“Economies and various changes in lifestyles moved them more mauka toward the (Mamalahoa) highway,” Paikuli-Campbell said.

On Saturday, more than a dozen people participated in a free Talk Story on the Land hike at the site, which is located north of the Kona Paradise subdivision and is rarely open to the public.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, https://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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