Known as Rapa Nui to its earliest inhabitants, the island was christened Paaseiland, or Easter Island, by Dutch explorers in honor of the day of their arrival in It was annexed by Chile in the late 19th century and now maintains an economy based largely on tourism. The statues reveal their creators to be master craftsmen and engineers, and are distinctive among other stone sculptures found in Polynesian cultures. There has been much speculation about the exact purpose of the statues, the role they played in the ancient civilization of Easter Island and the way they may have been constructed and transported. The first human inhabitants of Rapa Nui the Polynesian name for Easter Island; its Spanish name is Isla de Pascua are believed to have arrived in an organized party of emigrants. Archaeology dates their arrival at between A. The greatest evidence for the rich culture developed by the original settlers of Rapa Nui and their descendants is the existence of nearly giant stone statues that have been found in diverse locations around the island. Averaging 13 feet 4 meters high, with a weight of 13 tons, these enormous stone busts—known as moai—were carved out of tuff the light, porous rock formed by consolidated volcanic ash and placed atop ceremonial stone platforms called ahus. It is still unknown precisely why these statues were constructed in such numbers and on such a scale, or how they were moved around the island. Archaeological excavations of Easter Island reveal three distinct cultural phases: the early period A.
Planets Visible in the Night Sky in Easter Island, Chile (Rapa Nui)
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.
Archaeological excavation and carbon dating provide a date range of an estimated two hundred years. Pollen analysis, which examines soil erosion and the types.
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.
Things to Do in Easter Island
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 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.
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. Some 2, miles from the coast of Chile, the island is one of the most isolated places on the planet. It is treeless, dotted with volcanoes and fringed with sandy beaches.
The Mystery of Easter Island
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.
See the best tours for singles in Easter Island. Meet other travellers while exploring places like Easter Island and Orongo. All major brands. Biggest Selection.
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. In the prevailing account of the island’s past, the native inhabitants—who refer to themselves as the Rapanui and to the island as Rapa Nui—once had a large and thriving society, but they doomed themselves by degrading their environment.
Easter Island: everything you need to know about visiting the mystical statues
By Bob Holmes. The first humans may have arrived on Easter Island several centuries later than previously supposed, suggests a new study. Easter Island has often been cited as the classic example of a human-induced ecological catastrophe. The island — one of the most remote places on Earth — was once richly forested, but settlers cut the forests, partly to use the wood in construction of the massive stone statues and temples for which the island is famous.
Rapa Nui, the indigenous name of Easter Island, bears witness to a unique cultural phenomenon. A society of Polynesian origin that settled there c. A.D. .
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. With its stretch of white sand fringed with Tahitian coconut palms, a backdrop of grassy hills and ocean waters that rarely dip below 64 degrees F 18 degrees C even in the winter months, few places come as close to paradise as Anakena Beach.
One of only three beaches on Easter Island, Anakena also plays an important part in the history of the island. Aside from its striking setting and dramatically situated moai, the main draw to Anakena Beach is, of course, the ocean and the warm, clear waters make the ideal spot for swimming, surfing and snorkeling. Restored by archaeologists William Mulley and Gonzalo Figueroa in , the seven grand moai that make up Ahu Akivi are among the most visited attractions of Easter Island.
Dating back to the 15th century, the moai are thought to have been built in three stages and are unique in their placement—not only is Ahu Akivi one of few moai sites located inland, but the moai are the only ones on the island that face toward the ocean. Legend has it that the seven identical moai of Ahu Akivi were built in honor of the seven explorers sent to discover the island by founder Hotu Matu’a; thus the statues look out to sea toward their home land.
New timeline rewrites history of Easter Island’s collapse
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’s most dramatic claim to fame is an array of almost giant stone figures that date back many centuries. The statues reveal their.
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.
The dating of Easter Island
You probably know Easter Island as “the place with the giant stone heads. However, a new article in the Journal of Pacific Archaeology hints at a more complex story — by analyzing the chemical makeup of the tools used to create the big stone sculptures, archaeologists found evidence of a sophisticated society where the people shared information and collaborated. The first people arrived on Easter Island or, in the local language, Rapa Nui about years ago. Over the years, the population rose to the thousands, forming the complex society that carved the statues Easter Island is known for today.
These statues, or moai , often referred to as “Easter Island heads,” are actually full-body figures that became partially buried over time.
Easter Island in Pacific Context, South Seas Symposium: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Easter Island and East Polynesia. Los Osos:.
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. These inconsistencies have prevented the development of reliable age-depth models in many cases, especially in Holocene intervals including the last millennia, thus preventing researchers to disentangle climatic and anthropogenic causes of ecological change, which is essential for incorporating palaeoecological and palaeoclimatic trends into predictive models.
In the past, age-depth models were relatively simple and consisted mainly of interpolations and extrapolations assuming linear sedimentation rates between adjacent dating points.
Chronology of Easter Island: Important Events on Rapa Nui
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we’ll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer – no Kindle device required. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser.
For decades, mystery has swirled around what happened to the founding population of the remote Easter Island. A long-held theory suggests.
CNN For decades, mystery has swirled around what happened to the founding population of the remote Easter Island, known for its towering stone statues depicting large carved heads. A long-held theory suggests that after the islanders set up camp and carved the giant statues, they destroyed their own society through infighting and a depletion of natural resources.
Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds. Photos: Ancient finds. This bundle of bones is the torso of another marine reptile inside the stomach of a fossilized ichthyosaur from million years ago.
Stones challenge dating of Easter Island collapse
Have a question? Please see about tab. Journal Help. Subscription Login to verify subscription. User Username Password Remember me. Article Tools Print this article.
In their isolation, why did the early Easter Islanders undertake this colossal statues has been located by the survey to date on Easter Island are still in situ.
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. Rond na Christus vestigde zich hier een samenleving van Polynesische oorsprong die een krachtige, creatieve en originele traditie vestigde van beeldhouwkunst en architectuur, vrij van elke invloed van buitenaf.
Daarnaast kende het volk een opmerkelijke vorm van pictografisch schrijven Rongo Rongo , dat tot nu toe niet ontcijferd is. Source: unesco. This culture displayed extraordinary characteristics that are expressed in singular architecture and sculpture within the Polynesian context. Easter Island, the most remote inhabited island on the planet, is 3, kilometres from the coast of continental Chile and has an area of 16, hectares while the World Heritage property occupies an area of approximately seven thousand hectares, including four nearby islets.
The island was colonized toward the end of the first millennium of the Christian era by a small group of settlers from Eastern Polynesia, whose culture manifested itself between the eleventh and seventeenth centuries in great works such as the ahu —ceremonial platforms- and carved moai – colossal statues- representing ancestors.