Hundreds of years ago, a small group of Polynesians rowed their wooden outrigger canoes across vast stretches of open sea, navigating by the evening stars and the day’s ocean swells. When and why these people left their native land remains a mystery. But what is clear is that they made a small, uninhabited island with rolling hills and a lush carpet of palm trees their new home, eventually naming their 63 square miles of paradise Rapa Nui—now popularly known as Easter Island. On this outpost nearly 2, miles west of South America and 1, miles from the nearest island, the newcomers chiseled away at volcanic stone, carving moai, monolithic statues built to honor their ancestors. They moved the mammoth blocks of stone—on average 13 feet tall and 14 tons—to different ceremonial structures around the island, a feat that required several days and many men. Eventually the giant palms that the Rapanui depended on dwindled. Many trees had been cut down to make room for agriculture; others had been burned for fire and used to transport statues across the island. The treeless terrain eroded nutrient-rich soil, and, with little wood to use for daily activities, the people turned to grass. By the time Dutch explorers—the first Europeans to reach the remote island—arrived on Easter day in , the land was nearly barren.
Easter Island (Isla de Pascua)
Rapa Nui, the indigenous name of Easter Island, bears witness to a unique cultural phenomenon. A society of Polynesian origin that settled there c. From the 10th to the 16th century this society built shrines and erected enormous stone figures known as moai , which created an unrivalled cultural landscape that continues to fascinate people throughout the world.
Rapa Nui, de inheemse naam van Paaseiland, getuigt van een uniek cultureel fenomeen.
Timeline. Up until recently, the dating of all events at Easter Island was under debate, with some researchers arguing the original colonization.
New evidence points to an alternative explanation for a civilization’s collapse. DOI: Every year, thousands of tourists from around the world take a long flight across the South Pacific to see the famous stone statues of Easter Island. Since , when the first Europeans arrived, these megalithic figures, or moai , have intrigued visitors.
Interest in how these artifacts were built and moved led to another puzzling question: What happened to the people who created them? Figure 1. The island continues to draw both tourists and scientists, in part because of the mystery surrounding the fate of its civilization. New evidence from archaeological work and comparative ecology, however, reveals that this story may need to be rewritten.
The EIRA Database: Glacial to Holocene Radiocarbon Ages from Easter Island’s Sedimentary Records
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.
ROCK ON Easter Islanders cultivated fields such as this with volcanic rocks that leached nutrients into the soil. New evidence indicates that this.
Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island a name given to it by Europeans , is located in the southeast Pacific and is famous for its approximately 1, carvings of moai, human-faced statues. The island measures about 14 miles 22 km by 7 miles 11 km at its furthest points and it is often said that it can be traversed by foot in a single day. The volcanic island is the most isolated inhabited landmass on Earth. The closest inhabited land is the Pitcairn Islands, located about 1, miles 1, km to the west.
Chile, the closest South American country, is located about 2, miles 3, km to the east. The famous carvings are massive, up to 40 feet 12 meters tall and 75 tons in weight.
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.
Easter Island is famous for its stone statues of human figures, known as moai to have been added at a later date, some carved in low relief, others incised.
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. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Data Availability: All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. 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.
Stones challenge dating of Easter Island collapse
Researchers have developed a chronology of monument-building and re-examined written observations of early European visitors. The new findings indicate that descendants of Polynesian seafarers who settled Rapa Nui, aka Easter Island, in the 13th century continued to build, maintain, and use the monuments for at least years beyond —the date long hailed as the start of societal decline.
Easter Island, a Chilean territory, is 1, miles from South America and 1, miles from other inhabited islands. By closely examining data from 11 of the sites, the researchers connected radiocarbon dates from previous research to the order of assembly required to build the monuments. A central platform came first. Other sections—crematoriums, burial sites, plazas, statues, and hats—were gradually added.
Carbon dating of artefacts on Rapa Nui indicates that Polynesians landed on the island they call Te Pito o Te Henua (the navel of the world).
Museum number Oc. Description Neck ornament, gorget rei miro , made of wood thespesia populnea. Crescent-shaped, terminated by two bearded male heads facing upwards. Two holes spaced evenly along the upper edge of the crescent to take a neck cord. A line of rongorongo glyphs follow the curve of the crescent.
The Rats of Rapa Nui
The Economics of Easter Island :. Modeling Resource Sustainability in Flash. Easter Island has become a metaphor for Malthusian resource over-exploitation and societal collapse. The stylized facts begin with the arrival of fewer than 50 Polynesian settlers in A.
Easter Island in Pacific Context, South Seas Symposium: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Easter Island and East Polynesia. Los Osos:.
Clear waters, abundant flora and endemic fauna… you will sail to the Pitcairn Islands , an unspoiled subtropical environment whose capital, Adamstown, resembles a charming small village. Encircled by a large ring of coral, its multicoloured lagoons are each more beautiful than the next and will offer you a breathtaking show. The last stop on this trip: Rangiroa , in the Tuamotus. This gigantic atoll with breathtaking underwater scenery is most known for the cultivation of its famous black pearls.
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Learn more. With 15 gigantic stone-carved moai lined up on a foot-long platform and a remote location framed by the looming Rano Raraku volcano and the crashing ocean, Ahu Tongariki is nothing short of spectacular. Even more astounding, considering the size and weight of the statues, is that the site was almost completely destroyed by a tsunami in , with the rocks flung more than 90 meters inland.
: An Attempt to Date a Unique, Kneeling Statue in Rano Rarku, Easter Island. The “Walking” Moai of Easter Island (Occasional Papers, Vol. 1): Arne.
Its nearly 1, statues, some almost 30 feet tall and weighing as much as 80 tons, are still an enigma, but the statue builders are far from vanished. In fact, their descendants are making art and renewing their cultural traditions in an island renaissance. To early travelers, the spectacle of immense stone figures, at once serenely godlike and savagely human, was almost beyond imagining.
James Cook wrote in He freely speculated on how the statues might have been raised, a little at a time, using piles of stones and scaffolding; and there has been no end of speculation, and no lack of scientific investigation, in the centuries that followed. But the art of Easter Island still looms on the horizon of the human imagination. Just 14 miles long and 7 miles wide, the island is more than 2, miles off the coast of South America and 1, miles from its nearest Polynesian neighbor, Pitcairn Island, where mutineers from the HMS Bounty hid in the 19th century.