Hawai‘i State Parks is currently recruiting for a Principal Archaeologist (SR-24) position based in Kona, Hawai‘i Island.
The application form and information for this full-time, civil service position (Recruitment Number 212264) are available at the Department of Human Resources Development website (http://hawaii.gov/hrd). Recruitment is continuous with no deadline but interested archaeologists should submit their applications as soon as possible.
The position is funded through Capital Improvement Project (CIP) appropriations. The primary responsibility of the job, therefore, is to ensure that park development or renovation projects proceed with as little impact as possible on the historic and cultural resources of the parks and their settings. This requires being actively involved in the design and construction phases of park projects and fulfilling any historic preservation regulatory requirements for those projects. Making these assessments relies on graining a much broader understanding of a park’s resources, its cultural and historical past, and its level of public use. Gaining these broader perspectives is where most of the rewarding job opportunities lie.
This position is part of the State Parks Interpretive Program and the archaeologist is encouraged to use the knowledge and perspectives gained through the compliance and park management process to help develop and prepare interpretive material for park users.
The Hawaii Island archaeologist is primarily responsible for projects, large and small, occurring in the 14 State Parks and 1 Park Reserve on the island. This includes the smaller recreational areas, such as ʻAkaka Falls, Kalōpā, Lava Tree, MacKenzie, Manukā, Mauna Kea, Wailoa, and Wailuku River, and the larger parks, mostly in West Hawaii, that are particularly rich in archaeological resources and history. Archaeological sites are the central focus of park use at Lapakahi State Historical Park and additional inventory work is needed for a recently acquired inholding within this park. Large portions of the West Hawaii coastline from Hāpuna to the Keāhole Airport have been set aside as a series of parks (Hāpuna, Kīholo, and Kekaha Kai) that are only beginning to be fully assessed for appropriate levels of public use and management strategies needed to protect the region’s remaining cultural resources. Keolonāhihi State Historical Park and Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park were set aside specifically for their exceptional cultural resources and significant roles in Hawaiian traditions and history. The State Parks website (www.hawaiistateparks.org) has brief overviews of these parks.
There will also be opportunities to work in parks on other islands, some of which provide Hawaiʻi with its most scenic and iconic images (Nāpali Coast, Kōkeʻe and Waimea Canyon, Wailua River, Makapuʻu, Diamond Head, Waiʻānapanapa, Mākena, ʻĪao Valley, etc.). For larger projects, State Parks archaeologists work as a team on all the islands. The archaeological record of some of these larger parks is far from being fully understood.
There are also opportunities to work with non-archaeological historic properties as the archaeologist will be responsible for coordinating historic preservation compliance and oversight for architectural properties and traditional cultural properties. Some of these historic buildings and infrastructure pre-date the park’s establishment (e.g., Huliheʻe Palace) while others were constructed for park purposes when the Territorial and State Park parks were first created in the 1940s through the early 1960s. Opportunities to work with historical records and sources are almost limitless given how important many of these areas have been to Hawaii’s history. Kealakekua and Kaʻawaloa alone could keep anyone occupied for years.
An easily overlooked aspect of the job is the satisfaction of working with other park employees, such as those from the development, planning, facilities management, and administration sections, and watching parks and visitor experiences improve. Unfortunately, many of our parks need help. Some parks are fortunate to have the support of community groups and individuals who have lived with and cared for these lands for generations.