Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, June 11, 2005

Map may point to king's burial site

Associated Press

KAILUA, KONA, Hawai'i — An expert on Hawaiian culture and history has asked the state Burials Council to look into his discovery of an old map that may indicate the burial place of King Kamehameha the Great.

From left, Halau Hula Olana dancers Kevie Kawasaki, Kealohi Kiyama and Leo Urave, each 11, performed at the lei-draping ceremony yesterday at the King Kamehameha statue in front of Ali'iolani Hale. Honolulu firefighters have the honor of draping the lei on the statue.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Kapakulani Ching, who is with Na Pua Kaahumanu, lets out a big laugh during lei making for today's Kamehameha Day festivities.

Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

Clarence Medeiros Jr. said that during a visit to the Survey Division of the state Department of Accounting and General Services, he found an August 1819 survey map of "Kairua Bay" that includes a feature labeled "Tamehamehas Tomb." Kamehameha died in Kailua, Kona, on May 8, 1819.

The mapmaker listed the coordinates of the site, and Medeiros said that location is "Thurston Point," on Kailua Bay in Kailua, Kona.

A portion of the property was dredged in the 1950s to make a channel from the sea to create lagoon out of what have been labeled on some maps as "royal fishponds."

To protect the channel, property owner and former Advertiser publisher Lorrin P. Thurston also constructed a seawall and breakwater, which encroached on state property. The structures became an issue last year when the new owner, Big Surf Trust, received permission from the state to purchase the public land.

The burial site may have been destroyed when the channel was built, Medeiros said. "I'm just wondering if he might still be out there under something."

DeSoto Brown, collections manager for the Bishop Museum, said there is no way to confirm or deny that the map is accurate. But he said he has never heard of a tomb for Kamehameha and that his rank was so great that it is more likely his bones were hidden in a secret spot.

"I cannot imagine he would have been buried in a public place," Brown said.