Easter Island, a special territory of Chile that was annexed in , is most famous for the hundreds moai statues scattered throughout its coastline. The ceremonial village of Orongo, in the south of the park, is considered to be among the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world. It is perched on a narrow ridge, with the crater of the Rano Kau volcano on one side and cliffs that fall meters to the sea on the other. The self-contained, dry-laid houses featuring sod roofs were built into the topography of the site. The ceremonial center of Mata Ngarau in Orongo, center of the Tangata Manu Birdman cult that succeeded the moai culture, was the site for the annual games that represented the transfer of power between competing clans. By the end of the nineteenth century, most of the Rapa Nui culture had perished or had converted to Christianity; the Tangata Manu cult collapsed and Orongo was abandoned. World Monuments Fund began working on Easter Island in the late s. Planning for conservation and site-management at the Orongo Ceremonial Village began in in close consultation with community leaders, organizations, and local stakeholders. Over the years WMF has held a series of workshops focused on redevelopment, interpretation, conservation, and management plans for the site. The design of the visitor reception center at Orongo, completed in , integrated the existing facilities; the core of the new building is the old warden station, much of the original structure was retained, and construction materials were recycled and incorporated into the new building.
File:Moai at Rano Raraku – Easter Island (5956405378).jpg
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.
These moai represent the original ancestor from the Marquesas and the kings of other Polynesian islands. Tuki himself gazed into the distance as he chanted their.
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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.
Easter Island is a small island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean that belongs to Chile. The island is one of the most isolated places in the world, at the southeastern most point of the Polynesian Triangle in Oceania. The island’s triangular shape is formed by three extinct volcanoes, the Poike, the Rano Kau and the Terevaka the highest mountain on the island. With its rocky coasts overlooking the ocean, only a few spots have a beach, while its interior is very barren and undulating.
This island is also known by the indigenous name of Rapa Nui. This comparison of images, acquired by Sentinel-2 optical Sensor , over Easter Island, shows the different results obtained with the multispectral bands Sentinel-2 offers. The island is world famous for its enigmatic stone statues of volcanic nature called Moai. About statues still stand on the island; they vary in height from 3 to 12 m.
Carved from tuff, a soft volcanic rock, they consist of huge heads with elongated ears and noses. Material for the statues was quarried from the Rano Raraku crater, where modern explorers found an immense unfinished statue, 21 m 68 ft long.
Brief History of Easter Island (Home of the Moais)
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.
of archaeological remains from Easter Island’s moai (statue) quarry the island geodynamic activity, geomorphological formation and dating.
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. Radiocarbon dating on 11 of the island’s stone platforms – known locally as ‘ahu’ – has directly challenged traditional components of the collapse narrative. Polynesians are thought to have first colonised Easter Island sometime between the late 12th and early 13th centuries; according to the new findings, construction on the stone monuments began roughly fifty years later.
Focusing on the few monuments with good chronological data, the authors claim between the mid 14th and 15th century, there was a rapid period of ahu construction, followed by a relatively slower period of construction through the 18th century. In fact, one of the stone platforms analysed may have even been built as late as , some years after the island was first colonised. While this is on the extreme end of the estimate, even if the general outline is right, it means Easter Islanders were putting in the time and effort to build these resource-expensive monuments long after their society is said to have collapsed.
Easter Island: Why are moai towering head statues there? Truth FINALLY revealed
Moai on platform. Volcanic figures of basalt base. Rapa Nui. Easter Island is called Rapa Nui by the people who live here.
provides a warning to other researchers dating sediments from Easter Island. landscape of grasslands where the much admired statues, or Moai, far.
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.
From mud to moai statue: lake sediments reveal new insights into Easter Island colonization
Please refresh the page and retry. T he monolithic statues of Rapa Nui Easter Island called moai are sublimely beautiful works of art. Tall figures carved out of volcanic rock between the 11th and 14th centuries by Polynesian settlers, they have long, unsmiling faces, elegant, hawk-like noses and brooding brows. They can seem alienating or enthralling, depending on the angle, the light, your mood and the weather.
Rapa Nui is a tiny triangle some 14 miles long on its base and about seven miles wide, making it roughly the size of Jersey. At each of its three corners stands an extinct volcano.
4-Day Tour of Easter Island: Moai Statues, Ahu Akivi and Akahanga provided by Date. 2 adults. Options. Select tour language. Check Availability. Low Price.
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The Secrets of Easter Island
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.
Moai set in the hillside at Rano Raraku on Easter Island. Conducting radiocarbon dating on 11 sites on Easter Island, the authors determined.
The small landmass of Easter Island km 2 , the southeasterly point of Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean, has achieved iconic status in the world today as people wonder how its colonisation was physically possible by settlers journeying through the vast ocean in tiny boats, how and why the enormous moai s were constructed and, most infamously, to what extent they contributed to their own downfall through severe environmental degradation. The location of Easter Island related to South America.
Statues at Rano Raraku, Easter Island. Source: WikiCommons. Substantial research efforts have tried to build up a detailed picture of the timing and rate of human settlement and changes in vegetation cover on the island, and most importantly whether there is a clear causal link between the two. Much of the evidence for environmental changes on Easter Island come from lake sediment sequences, a subject close to my heart having invested 3 years and counting looking at lake sediments for my PhD.
The Moai Statues of Easter Island: Mystery Solved?
Easter Island is famous for its extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. Polynesian people most likely settled on Easter Island sometime between and CE, and created a thriving and industrious culture as evidenced by the island’s numerous enormous stone moai and other artefacts. However, human activity, the introduction of the Polynesian rat and overpopulation led to gradual deforestation and extinction of natural resources which severely weakened the Rapa Nui civilization.
By the time of European arrival in , the island’s population had dropped to 2,—3, from an estimated high of approximately 15, just a century earlier. European diseases and Peruvian slave raiding in the s further reduced the Rapa Nui population, to a low of only inhabitants in
Orongo contains dozens of petroglyphs and stone houses dating from the Huri-Moai period of Easter Island’s history (c. –). The self-contained, dry-laid.
The dates of Easter Island are currently in flux in that the traditional dates have been challenged, so two different sets of dates must be given. The dates from the island depend on radiocarbon dating. These dates depended mostly on pollen analysis. There are many deep bogs in Easter Island in the craters of the volcanoes and it is possible to take a core through the bog showing the successive layers of the build-up, and analyse the pollen found in the different layers.
When John Flenley did this he was able to show that Easter Island was originally wooded, covered with dense forests. But then the tree pollen declined, and flecks of charcoal appeared in the peat core indicating that the forests had been burnt, presumably by man. And from this the theory arose that the forests had been destroyed by the arrival of the Easter Islanders, and that this led to an ecological disaster.
But one of the advantages of pollen analysis is that the bog itself is formed of vegetable matter, which is basically carbon and can therefore be dated, as some of the carbon would originally been radioactive carbon 14, the gradual decay of which provides the basis for radio carbon dating. Most of the dates therefore are not dates for the erection of the statues but dates for the decline of the tree pollen in the bogs. The erection of statues was in full swing by AD and the collapse came around AD Easter Island became the prototype of a civilisation that destroyed itself by its ecological carelessness.
They propose a dramatic lowering of the dates so that the first colonisation comes as late as AD They have therefore taken a look at all the radiocarbon dates from the whole of the Pacific and have subjected them to a rigourous examination , rejecting all the samples that were insecure, and considering only what they consider to be the reliable ones.
How Easter Island Works
The Met Fifth Ave opens August The Met Cloisters opens September Your health is our top priority. Rapa Nui people. The dramatically flattened bodies of Rapa Nui female figures moai papa contrast with their fully modeled heads. The word papa in the Rapa Nui language literally denotes a flat horizontal surface of volcanic rock, but it may also indirectly refer to Papa, the female personification of the earth in many Polynesian cultures.
Ongoing archaeological studies suggest a still-later date: “Radiocarbon dates for the earliest stratigraphic layers at Anakena, Easter Island, and analysis of.
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 interest on the island received a boost several decades ago, after the expedition leaded by Thor Heyedahl Heyerdahl and Ferdon, and the first palynological studies suggesting a recent ecological catastrophe, led by an abrupt island-wide deforestation likely due to the over-exploitation of natural resources, and an ensuing cultural collapse Flenley and King, ; Flenley et al. Further, archaeological and palaeoecological studies have challenged this ecocidal theory Hunt and Lipo, , ; Hunt, ; Lipo and Hunt, , which has revitalized the debate on the recent cultural history of Easter Island reviews in Rull et al.
In comparison to the concern for human developments and their influence on the island’s environment, the palaeoclimatic history of Easter Island and its potential paleoecological consequences has received little attention until the last decade. Earlier palaeoecological studies emphasized the influence of human activities on vegetation and landscape shifts and undervalued the potential action of climatic changes as ecological drivers. The main argument was that the ecological effect of a global climatic shift as intense as for example the Last Glacial Maximum LGM was negligible as compared to the ecological changes induced by anthropogenic activities during the last millennium.
Since the beginning, the paleoclimatic and palaeoecological study of Easter Island has faced a persistent drawback caused by the occurrence of dating inconsistencies, mainly extensive chronostratigraphic gaps and frequent age inversions Butler et al.