The researchers unearthed the remnants of an agricultural gridwork that dates back nearly 600 years, a pattern formed by a series of earthen walls, or berms, which served as windbreaks to protect the crops.
“In this part of Hawaii, the trade winds blow all the time, so the berms are there to protect the crops from the winds,” Field said. “The main crop was sweet potato, which likes dry loose soil. The berms protect the soil from being blown away.”
Similar to the feudal system of Europe, a portion of any crop surplus was always designated for the local chiefs, the researchers said.
Story: UPI | Photo: Wikimedia Commons