PuÊ»u o Mahuka Heiau is the largest heiau (religious site or temple) on OÊ»ahu, covering almost 2 acres. The name is translated as “hill of escape”. Undoubtedly, this heiau played an important role in the social, political, and religious system of Waimea Valley which was a major occupation center of OÊ»ahu in the pre-contact period.
PuÊ»u o Mahuka Heiau may have been constructed in the 1600s. Built as a series of 3 walled enclosures, the stacked rock walls ranged from 3 to 6 feet in height and the interior surface was paved with stone. Within the walls were wood and thatch structures. Such a large heiau would have been built by the makaÊ»ainana (commoners) under the direction of a high ruling chief (ali’i nui) and his priests (kahuna).
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