Lanai City
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Luahiwa Petroglyphs
There was once was a time when the Palawai Basin teemed with acres of pineapple. In 1992, however, when the last commercial pineapple was plucked from the island of Lana'i, these dusty plains on the outskirts of Lana'i City reverted to an empty field. Well, almost. As it turns out, about a half mile from the highway in the Palawai hinterlands is a small hill which is covered in petroglyphs. Estimated to be at least 200 years old, these rock etchings make the island's pineapple era look like a recent fad. While the Luahiwa petroglyphs are similar in appearance to those which are found elsewhere on the island, (such as those at Kaiolohia and Kaunolu), what makes the etchings at Luahiwa so special is not only their proximity to town, but the staggering number of individual drawings which number close to 1,000. Set only 10 minutes outside of Lana'i City, a zig-zagging series of former pineapple roads leads to the base of the conspicuous bluff. After ascending a small hill and bushwhacking through brush, the search for the carvings is like an archeological Easter egg hunt where an ancient drawing could appear at any moment. Despite the number of etchings, however, modern graffiti and recent alterations have marred many of the largest carvings. Nevertheless, those who scramble along the red dirt scree slope can still find carvings which have sat undisturbed since the days of the original Hawaiians.
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