This study illustrates how the theory of directed graphs can be used to investigate the structure and growth of the leeward Kohala field system, a traditional Hawaiian archaeological site that presents an unparalleled opportunity to investigate relative chronology. The relative chronological relationships of agricultural walls and trails in two detailed study areas are represented as directed graphs and then investigated using graph theoretic concepts including cycle, level, and connectedness. The structural properties of the directed graphs reveal structure in the field system at several spatial scales. A process of deduction yields a history of construction in each detailed study area that is different than the history produced by an earlier investigation. These results indicate that it is now possible to study the structure and growth of the entire field system remnant using computer software implementations of graph theoretic concepts applied to observations of agricultural wall and trail intersections made on aerial imagery and/or during fieldwork. A relative chronology of field system development with a resolution of one generation is a possible result.
Dye, T. S. (2014). Structure and growth of the leeward Kohala field system: An analysis with directed graphs. PLoS ONE, 9(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0102431