Growing Evidence Says People on Easter Island Were Still Okay When Europeans Landed

Piecing together the secrets of the past is a daunting task. There are many events and artifacts of ancient human society that puzzle historians. The more we learn, the more questions we are left with. Such was the case with the ancient statues of Easter Island — but researchers now believe they have the answer to at least one question regarding the stone heads that has baffled them for centuries. Their odd shape — large heads with disproportionately small bodies — and seemingly random placement throughout the island has always been a mystery to historians and archaeologists alike. Everyone seems baffled and fascinated by these strange statues. Gazing at them, it is impossible not to wonder: Who built these statues, and why? What sort of deity is depicted in the carved stone? A small group of Polynesian sailors arrived at Rapa Nui via canoes centuries ago, though even the approximate date of their arrival is widely debated.

The EIRA Database: Glacial to Holocene Radiocarbon Ages from Easter Island’s Sedimentary Records

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Easter Island · South America · Chile · Remote · Mystery · To Go · Dating. Easter Island is home to the famous Moai – the large-headed stone sculptures dating. Article from Remote and Mysterious Rapa Nui, Easter Island.

Among the many secrets buried in Easter Island prehistory is the question of how the Rapanui people transported the multi-ton statues, or moai, from their quarries to their final ceremonial ahu sites around the island. In many cases, the optimum route of transport would have meant that the teams of statue-movers, and the statues themselves, had to traverse several miles over very rough and hilly terrain. What would have been the best way to move Easter Island’s stone giants, which weighed, on average, some 14 tons?

The transport question has long been debated, and has been the subject of some experimentation by a growing arena of theorists. All have tried to approach the question as the early Rapa Nui people did, with the use of only stone, wood, rope, and human power. The following is a brief summary of those attempts. We encourage you to peruse them, and then send in your own theory on how the moai were moved. Oral Tradition Various Dates Like most oral traditions, Rapa Nui folklore has been passed down through the generations, and it is unknown whether the stories are based on historical fact.

Most center on the mystical idea that the massive megaliths were moved using “mana,” or divine power. Those who possessed mana were able to command the moai to walk to their designated places.

Easter Island: everything you need to know about visiting the mystical statues

The mystery of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, is often told as a ” parable of self-destruction “, a cautionary tale of human exploitation and ‘ecocide’. When the last tree falls, so does humanity – or so the story goes. It’s a narrative that’s been repeated many times and is often treated as fact, but in recent years, evidence has been mounting to suggest the people of Rapa Nui are incorrectly blamed for their own demise. New research suggests these islanders were building platforms for the iconic Moai statues up until at least , well beyond the society’s hypothesised collapse around and up to and beyond the later arrival of foreign seafarers.

Moai set in the hillside at Rano Raraku on Easter Island. Conducting radiocarbon dating on 11 sites on Easter Island, the authors determined.

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America. DiNapoli has demonstrated that the people of Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, continued to construct monumental stone statues well after , a date around which some scholars believe society on the island suffered a collapse. The team investigated the construction sequence of the statues, also known as moai, by studying radiocarbon dates taken at 11 sites.

They found that the islanders began to build moai soon after they settled Rapa Nui in the thirteenth century and continued to construct them at least years after the supposed collapse around Accounts left by Dutch explorers who reached the island in suggest the islanders were still using the moai for rituals. Later Spanish voyagers, who landed on the island in , also reported the moai were still in use, though by the British explorer James Cook found that Rapa Nui was in a state of crisis and that many moai had been overturned.

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New Insights into What Happened on Easter Island

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Moai statues on Easter Island. The early period is characterized by ahus at Tahai, Vinapu, and Anakena, carbon-dated to about – ce. The first two were.

Rapa Nui or Easter Island, as it is commonly known is home to the enigmatic Moai, stone monoliths that have stood watch over the island landscape for hundreds of years. Their existence is a marvel of human ingenuity — and their meaning a source of some mystery. Ancient Rapanui carvers worked at the behest of the elite ruling class to carve nearly 1, Moai because they, and the community at large, believed the statues capable of producing agricultural fertility and thereby critical food supplies, according to a new study from Jo Anne Van Tilburg, director of the Easter Island Statue Project, recently published in Journal of Archaeological Science.

Van Tilburg and her team, working with geoarchaeologist and soils specialist Sarah Sherwood, believe they have found scientific evidence of that long-hypothesized meaning thanks to careful study of two particular Moai excavated over five years in the Rano Raraku quarry on the eastern side of the Polynesian island. Van Tilburg’s most recent analysis focused on two of the monoliths that stand within the inner region of the Rano Raraku quarry, which is the origin of 95 percent of the island’s more than 1, Moai.

Extensive laboratory testing of soil samples from the same area shows evidence of foods such as banana, taro and sweet potato. Van Tilburg said the analysis showed that in addition to serving as a quarry and a place for carving statues, Rano Raraku also was the site of a productive agricultural area. I think our new analysis humanizes the production process of the Moai,” Van Tilburg said.

Van Tilburg has been working on Rapa Nui for more than three decades. Tom Wake, a Cotsen Institute colleague, analyzes small-animal remains from the excavation site. Van Tilburg, in partnership with members of the local community, heads the first legally permitted excavations of Moai in Rano Raraku since The soils in Rano Raraku are probably the richest on the island, certainly over the long term, Sherwood said. Coupled with a fresh-water source in the quarry, it appears the practice of quarrying itself helped boost soil fertility and food production in the immediate surroundings, she said.

The soils in the quarry are rich in clay created by the weathering of lapilli tuff the local bedrock as the workers quarried into deeper rock and sculpted the Moai.

Easter Island: Why are moai towering head statues there? Truth FINALLY revealed

Moai on platform. Volcanic figures of basalt base. Rapa Nui.

Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile) is famous for its elaborate ritual architecture, particularly numerous monumental platforms (ahu) and statuary (moai). To date, however, we lack explicit modeling to explain spatial and temporal.

Explaining the processes underlying the emergence of monument construction is a major theme in contemporary anthropological archaeology, and recent studies have employed spatially-explicit modeling to explain these patterns. Rapa Nui Easter Island, Chile is famous for its elaborate ritual architecture, particularly numerous monumental platforms ahu and statuary moai.

To date, however, we lack explicit modeling to explain spatial and temporal aspects of monument construction. Here, we use spatially-explicit point-process modeling to explore the potential relations between ahu construction locations and subsistence resources, namely, rock mulch agricultural gardens, marine resources, and freshwater sources—the three most critical resources on Rapa Nui.

Through these analyses, we demonstrate the central importance of coastal freshwater seeps for precontact populations. Our results suggest that ahu locations are most parsimoniously explained by distance from freshwater sources, in particular coastal seeps, with important implications for community formation and inter-community competition in precontact times. Despite considerable research on this subject, formal analyses of the role that environmental factors play in the emergence of monument construction have been largely underdeveloped.

Recent studies, however, have begun to employ spatially explicit modeling to explore how distributions of resources relate to monuments e. These studies provide key insights into the degree to which ecological constraints shape the location and function of monuments in past societies. Rapa Nui Easter Island, Chile, Fig 1 provides one of the most dramatic cases of prehistoric monument construction where, in a span of only about years, from the 13 th century AD to European contact in AD and into historic times, the islanders Rapanui constructed over megalithic platforms ahu and nearly multi-ton anthropomorphic statues moai [ 7 — 11 ].

Yet, like other oceanic islands, Rapa Nui can offer a model system for understanding human-environment interactions, including the ecological factors underlying monument construction [ 17 , 21 — 23 ].

Easter Island Moai

Palaeoecology of Easter Island: natural and anthropogenic drivers of ecological change View all 10 Articles. The archaeological and anthropological relevance of Easter Island Rapa Nui for human history in a regional Pacific context has been highlighted since the early twentieth century Routledge, At first, the interest was focused on the giant stone statues called moai , which had been carved on the island’s volcanic rocks by an enigmatic ancient civilization.

The dates from the island depend on radiocarbon dating. The first, and now the traditional dates were given in a remarkable book “Easter Island, Earth Island” by​.

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Easter Island moai ‘walked’


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