Thomas Robert Wolforth
My ancestors were mobile. Arriving in the Western Hemisphere from Germany and the British Isles, they continued to move throughout eastern North America. I grew up on the edge of large and small towns in the Rust Belt during the decline of the once-dominant auto and iron industries in the region. I attended several institutions of higher learning, and finally got degrees in Anthropology at Indiana University (1982) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1987).
I worked as an archaeologist in the Midwest until one day I received a job offer in Hawaiʻi that I could not refuse. With my spouse and daughter I packed up and moved to Hilo in 1995. The more I read about Hawaiian history, the more I realized that archaeologists like myself were not identifying any battlefields during our work. And upon further discussion on the matter, I realized that we did not know what to look for, or how to see them even if we were standing right in the middle of one. This is a common problem with battlefields from around the world and over the centuries; a place of intense and violent engagement years ago only looks like a field today.
I set out to identify those things that would occur before, during, and after a battle that might leave clues behind that something happened there long ago. I presented those ideas at several professional conferences, and published the results in this volume:
Wolforth, Thomas R.
2005 Searching for Archaeological Manifestations of Hawaiian Battles on the Island of Hawaiʻi. In The Reñaca Papers of the VI International Conference on Rapa Nui and the Pacific, edited by C.M. Stevenson, J.M. Ramírez, F.J. Morin, and N. Barbacci, pp. 161-179. The Easter Island Foundation and the University of Valparaíso, Chile.
I also had the great pleasure of presenting information on Hawaiian battles at “lectures” to the public in several locations around the island. I hesitate to call them lectures, because in every instance they involved a lot of dialogue with folks in attendance. And every time I came away with new knowledge and new friends.
This website and the poster-narrative on the battles on the island of Hawaii is part of my effort to participate in the continuing dialogue on Hawaiian warfare.