Functional Classification of Hawaiian Curved-Edge Adzes and Gouges


  • Thomas Dye University of Hawai`i
  • Jennifer G. Kahn College of William & Mary


As part of a project to describe and classify functionally more than 800 Hawaiian stone adzes held in the ethnographic and archaeological collections at Bishop Museum in Honolulu, 24 tools with curved edges were identified and described. The curved-edge tools include adzes and gouges, which can be unambiguously distinguished from one another using a combination of weight and length index. Many of the curved-edge adzes have large cutting edge width ratios; the narrow shoulders and wide edges led archaeologists to describe them as “hoofed”. Curved-edge adzes and gouges make up less than the 3 percent of the Hawaiian collection. Their rarity in Hawai‘i appears to be in line with other island groups in East Polynesia outside New Zealand, where they make up about 10 percent of museum collections.

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How to Cite

Dye, T. and Kahn, J. G. (2020) “Functional Classification of Hawaiian Curved-Edge Adzes and Gouges”, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 11(2), pp. 124–132. Available at: (Accessed: 21 July 2024).