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From left: William Kenji “Pila” Kikuchi, Jason Ford holding an ancient Hawaiian file

During a career in archaeology and anthropology that spanned almost 50 years, the late Kauaʻi Community College Emeritus Professor William Kenji “Pila” Kikuchi was an expert on many subjects including the ancient sinkhole called Makauwahi that has been referred to as “the Olduvai Gorge or La Brea Tar Pits of Hawaiʻi” because of its rich array of fossils. His collection of work is currently housed at the college, where he taught for 38 years.

In September, a blessing was held at the college’s Learning Resource Center where the collection resides and the new archival Kikuchi Center is being established. There are more than 550 books and personal field journals with 8,000+ items still to be examined.

Kauaʻi Community College recognizes the valuable contributions Dr. Kikuchi made to our students and within the field of Native Hawaiian archaeology,” said Chancellor Joseph Daisy. “We are honored to care for this important collection and make it accessible as a learning and research resource for our students and the broader community here in Hawaiʻi.”

The college has hired Jason Ford to serve as the Kikuchi archivist to process the physical collection, digitize the materials and develop online modules that faculty can embed into curricula. Ford is a recent graduate of the library and information science master’s program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

The collection will soon be available to the public both physically and online.

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