Shifting Sands Exposed Ancient Petroglyphs on Hawaii Beach

Petroglyphs on Hawaii Beach

Hawaii’s shorelines are world renowned legendary surf spots. but breaking waves have supplied more than just white waters and barrels, but washing away the sands to unveil the outlines of ancient shapes that were engraved into the bedrock.

Americans on vacation on the island of Oahu stumbled across a number of petrogyphs, engravings of men in the sandstone, thought to have been created by the islands early native dwellers.

Specialists believe that the engravings, which were found on the Wai’ anae shore line, might be hundreds of years old, dating back to the first European settlers which arrived on the islands in the late 1700s.

The largest of the glyphs depicts a nearly-life-size person with articulated fingers and toes. Photo credit: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

The series of petrogyphs stretch over 18 meters (16 ft) of beach, and were uncovered by the waves washing the sand away. Yet the incoming tide partly covers the shapes with the coastlines unsteady sands.

They might have been uncovered, and covered several times since they were engraved, just waiting to be found.

Petroglyphs on Hawaii Beach

The Hawaiian islands were believed to have been inhabited for millions of years subsequent to volcanic activity. Anthropologists think the chain was first colonized by native individuals from Polynesia.

These seafarers are believed to have voyaged across the Pacific Ocean from island to island, before settling on the volcanic island as early as 300 CE.

Archaeologists with the US Army visited the site to research the petrogyphs along with Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, who calculate at least 17 shapes engraved into the beach.

They state these engravings are much larger than others they have seen, and display more detail, with several of the petroglyphs comprising fingers on their hands. This is the first site with petrogyphs directly located on the shoreline.

Archaeologists are coming up with a plan to preserve, and protect this site due to its cultural significance. Many of the petrogyphs are about a foot tall, yet these measure up to 4 or 5 feet from head to toe.


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