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A Speculative Reconstruction of Techniques of Carving Transporting and Erecting Easter Island Statues
Overview:

Ever since Easter Sunday of 1722, when Jacob Roggeveen first saw them, visitors have gazed in awe at the gigantic stone statues which are the special hallmark of the tiny mote of south-east Pacific land that is Easter Island. They have pondered the problems of carving, transporting and erecting on large outdoor altars of statues weighing up to 82 metric tons and have come up with an astonishing variety of speculations. Some have even opined that the statues were not carved and transported but moulded in place of some plastic material or that they were blown from erupting volcanoes to their altar positions The people whose ancestors carried out these great engineering projects dismiss the problem lightly by relating that the statues walked to the altars with magical aid. Unlikely as it may seem, this assertion may reveal an insight into the method actually used. Enough information​

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Source: Mulloy, William. “A Speculative Reconstruction of Techniques of Carving Transporting and Erecting Easter Island Statues.” Archaeology & Physical Anthropology in Oceania, vol. 5, no. 1, 1970, pp. 1–23
 

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Moon’ in the Writing of Easter Island.
Overview:

In his fundamental work entitled Grundlagen zur Entzi.fferung der Osterinselschrift ( 1958), Barthel has identified characters 40, 41, and 42 (and, possibly, a few others) as lunar symbols. A most important achievement, relevant to the present article,1 has been his discovery of a list oflunar nights in the tablet Mamari (Barthel 1958 :242-24 7). In a later study (Barthel 1963), 40 and 42 have been assigned the reading (ma)hina 'moon', 'Hina' while 41 has been interpreted as marama 'month, (moon)light, to shine'. In the same place it has been suggested as well that, in accordance with the rebus-like nature of the Easter Island writing, 40 may be used for writing toponyms (e.g., Gv4: 40. 74f = Huahine; Ab8: 4 ... 40 = Ahu ... Hihina), and 41 might sometimes refer to the tribe of Marama. Virtually none of Barthel's works are available in English, and therefore a brief summary of his mostimportant results will be included here. Barthel himself (in a paper to be published) characterizes the Easter Island writing as follows:​

Source: Krupa, Viktor. “‘Moon’ in the Writing of Easter Island.” Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 10, no. 1, 1971, pp. 1–10
 

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  • Krupa, Viktor. “‘Moon’ in the Writing of Easter Island.” Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 10, no. 1, ...pdf
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mmm... so many things to read.
Easter Island is one of my favorite topics and I have collected many journal articles
My proposal is that debates or exchanges of ideas be generated for each of the articles posted.
For the moment I am going to leave Eastern Island for a while and dedicate myself to falling ice blocks or large hailstones.:)
 

The Mysterious 'Ecocide' Collapse of Easter Island Never Really Happened

The people of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, were not the instruments of their own demise, according to new research.

MoaiStatureAgainstSky.jpg


In a comprehensive new study, researchers found that the population of monument-carvers could not possibly have been big enough to collapse under the demands placed on their environment, as has previously been suggested.

The myth of this so-called Rapa Nui "ecocide" – held up for decades as a cautionary tale about overexploitation of natural resources – should be firmly relegated to the bin of outdated theories, scientists now say.

This finding is just the latest in a mounting body of evidence that the Pacific Islander population's decline had nothing to do with their way of living.

In fact, the collapse so soon after European contact in the 1700s probably had more to do with the slave trade, enforced migration, and introduced pathogens.

The finding was based on an analysis of the rock gardens found on Rapa Nui, in which the islanders grew their food.

A team led by archaeologist Dylan Davis of Columbia Climate School conducted a new satellite survey of the sites, and found that the number of these gardens could not have supported a population large enough to collapse under its own weight.

Of the 164 square kilometer (63 square mile) area of the island, as much as 21.1 square kilometers was devoted to gardens, these surveys found, supporting a possible population of up to 17,000 people – much higher than the 3,000 or so reported by the first European visitors.

https://www.sciencealert.com/the-mysterious-ecocide-collapse-of-easter-island-never-really-happened

maximus otter
 
Dylan S. Davis paper on Rapa Nui

Island-wide characterization of agricultural production challenges the demographic collapse hypothesis for Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Abstract:

Communities in resource-poor areas face health, food production, sustainability, and overall survival challenges. Consequently, they are commonly featured in global debates surrounding societal collapse. Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is often used as an example of how overexploitation of limited resources resulted in a catastrophic population collapse. A vital component of this narrative is that the rapid rise and fall of pre-contact Rapanui population growth rates was driven by the construction and overexploitation of once extensive rock gardens. However, the extent of island-wide rock gardening, while key for understanding food systems and demography, must be better understood. Here, we use shortwave infrared (SWIR) satellite imagery and machine learning to generate an island-wide estimate of rock gardening and reevaluate previous population size models for Rapa Nui. We show that the extent of this agricultural infrastructure is substantially less than previously claimed and likely could not have supported the large population sizes that have been assumed.​
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Source: Dylan S. Davis & Others (2024) Island-wide characterization of agricultural production challenges the demographic collapse hypothesis for Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Science Advances 10(25)
 

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The Mysterious 'Ecocide' Collapse of Easter Island Never Really Happened

The people of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, were not the instruments of their own demise, according to new research.

MoaiStatureAgainstSky.jpg


In a comprehensive new study, researchers found that the population of monument-carvers could not possibly have been big enough to collapse under the demands placed on their environment, as has previously been suggested.

The myth of this so-called Rapa Nui "ecocide" – held up for decades as a cautionary tale about overexploitation of natural resources – should be firmly relegated to the bin of outdated theories, scientists now say.

This finding is just the latest in a mounting body of evidence that the Pacific Islander population's decline had nothing to do with their way of living.

In fact, the collapse so soon after European contact in the 1700s probably had more to do with the slave trade, enforced migration, and introduced pathogens.

The finding was based on an analysis of the rock gardens found on Rapa Nui, in which the islanders grew their food.

A team led by archaeologist Dylan Davis of Columbia Climate School conducted a new satellite survey of the sites, and found that the number of these gardens could not have supported a population large enough to collapse under its own weight.

Of the 164 square kilometer (63 square mile) area of the island, as much as 21.1 square kilometers was devoted to gardens, these surveys found, supporting a possible population of up to 17,000 people – much higher than the 3,000 or so reported by the first European visitors.

https://www.sciencealert.com/the-mysterious-ecocide-collapse-of-easter-island-never-really-happened

maximus otter
Well, one side-theory I saw, was that the collapse DID devastate the ecology, but somewhat indirectly. They'd turned so much of the island to managed farmland that it needed to be maintained or it'd have issues. which means the original ecology was mostly gone. the farms would be fine.... for as long as the farmers maintained them.
 
Easter Island's Stone Giants: a Neuro-psychiatric View.
Abstract:

The sorting-out of neuro-psychiatrically meaningful patterns is offered as an auxiliary tool to so far unsuccessful attempts at understanding why the approximately 1000 giant stone statues on Easter Island exist and at deciphering the significance of their unique features. Under stone age conditions these stone giants of repetitive shape were created by a population of 3000 to 4000 at the most, probably berween 1100 A.D. and 1680 A.D. on an isolated and quite barren island. It is suggested that nothing short of an existential shock would have provided the impetus for this strenuous form of art. The disfiguring disease of leprosy, which has been endemic on Easter Island, might have constituted such a shock. Thus, in a possible magic attempt ac mastery, the still healthy portion of the tiny communiry may have created these stone giants, who represent indestructable strength in general, and fortification of those specific body parts, which are usually damaged or disfigured by leprosy, in particular. Thus 7 body areas, including the acral ones, of these stone giants show a specific pattern of deviation from the normal appearance of the human body. These deviations may represent the reversal of the characteristic signs of leprosy into their opposite, a mechanism used by our unconscious to prevent panic.
Source: Pontius AA. Easter Island's stone giants: a neuro-psychiatric view. Percept Mot Skills. 1969 Feb;28(1):207-12
 

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Further evidence of an Amerindian contribution to the Polynesian gene pool on Easter Island
Abstract:

Available evidence suggests a Polynesian origin of the Easter Island population.We recently found that some nativeEaster Islanders also carried somecommonAmerican Indian (Amerindian) human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles, which probably were introduced before Europeans discovered the island in 1722. In this study, we report molecular genetic investigations of 21 other selected native Easter Islanders. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome markers showed no traces of an Amerindian contribution. However, high-resolution genomic HLA typing showed that two individuals carried some other common Amerindian HLA alleles, different from those found in our previous investigations. The new data support our previous evidence of an Amerindian contribution to the gene pool on Easter Island.​
Source: Thorsby E, Flåm ST, Woldseth B, Dupuy BM, Sanchez-Mazas A, Fernandez-Vina MA. Further evidence of an Amerindian contribution to the Polynesian gene pool on Easter Island. Tissue Antigens. 2009 Jun;73(6):582-5.
 

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Diet of the prehistoric population of Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile) shows environmental adaptation and resilience
Abstract:

Objectives: The Rapa Nui “ecocide” narrative questions whether the prehistoric population caused an avoidable ecological disaster through rapid deforestation and over-exploitation of natural resources. The objective of this study was to characterize prehistoric human diets to shed light on human adaptability and land use in an island environment with limited resources
Source: Jarman, C. L., Larsen, T., Hunt, T., Lipo, C., Solsvik, R., Wallsgrove, N., … Popp, B. N. (2017). Diet of the prehistoric population of Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile) shows environmental adaptation and resilience. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 164(2), 343–361
 

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  • Jarman, C. L. & Others (2017). Diet of the prehistoric population of Rapa Nui (Easter Island, ...pdf
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so what is in the opinion of those invested in the topic, the best explanation for where the idea of Moai came from?

It's not really a Polynesian thing. The only thing left would seemingly be from SA somehow?
 
so what is in the opinion of those invested in the topic, the best explanation for where the idea of Moai came from?

It's not really a Polynesian thing. The only thing left would seemingly be from SA somehow?
In the Pacific Ocean there are several islands with megaites such as Tonga and Nan Madol but none of them have anything similar to the Moais. If you have read any of my posts you will see that there are genetic traces of South Americans in Rapa Nui. However, the most curious thing is the number of moais on such a small island. There are no evidence on the South American continent of formations of equal cracateristics in morphology and abundance.
 
so what is in the opinion of those invested in the topic, the best explanation for where the idea of Moai came from?

It's not really a Polynesian thing. The only thing left would seemingly be from SA somehow?
The iPlayer documentary said Marquesas and Raivavae also have similar human-shaped rock effigies.
Marquesas.jpg

Raivavae.jpg
 
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In the Pacific Ocean there are several islands with megaites such as Tonga and Nan Madol but none of them have anything similar to the Moais. If you have read any of my posts you will see that there are genetic traces of South Americans in Rapa Nui. However, the most curious thing is the number of moais on such a small island. There are no evidence on the South American continent of formations of equal cracateristics in morphology and abundance.
Yeah, Nan Madol is similar only in that the builders used stone. The similarities seem to end there.

The iPlayer documentary said Marquesas and Raivavae also have similar human-shaped rock effigies.
View attachment 78850
View attachment 78851
Ah yes, that seems like it's worth further study. For a quick comparison of locations:
RapaNuiHack.png

marquesashack.png

RaivavaeHack.png

yeah, they're relatively close to each other.... relatively....
 
Returning to the mention of Tonga and Nan Madol, beyond the similarity of the constructions in which the material used is stone, the common point is that the constructions are of the megalithic type. With which I infer that this type of construction was widely used in the Pacific, regardless of its morphology. Obviously the statues of Marquesas are more similar to Moais than the megaliths of Nan Madol or the famous trilithon of the island of Tonga.
 
Returning to the mention of Tonga and Nan Madol, beyond the similarity of the constructions in which the material used is stone, the common point is that the constructions are of the megalithic type. With which I infer that this type of construction was widely used in the Pacific, regardless of its morphology. Obviously the statues of Marquesas are more similar to Moais than the megaliths of Nan Madol or the famous trilithon of the island of Tonga.
Well, to a certain extent.... how many materials did they have? :D
 
Well, to a certain extent.... how many materials did they have? :D

In both the Marquesas Islands and Tonga, houses were built of wood with thatched or reed roofs.

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Temples and statues were obviously made of stone for reasons of durability.
 

Satellite imagery may provide a missing puzzle piece in Easter Island saga​


Other researchers suggest the exact opposite — that Easter Island is a tale of a how an isolated people created a sustainable system, allowing a small but stable population to thrive for centuries until first contact with European colonial powers in the early 18th century.

Now, research involving remote-sensing data and machine learning to map evidence of island farming offers a fresh clue that may help unravel the mysterious demise of the island’s original civilization. The new finding suggests that the island was not densely populated, making ecological collapse a less likely scenario.

https://edition.cnn.com/2024/06/21/...happened-civilization-collapse-scn/index.html
 
The Applicability of Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) Imagery for Archaeological Landscape Classification on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile.
Abstract:

High-resolution multispectral imagery provides an effective means for measuring the archaeological record of Rapa Nui. Previous work has suggested that the island’s prehistoric cultivation features known as “lithic mulch gardens” can be identified using near infrared imagery (NIR). Lithic mulching was a laborious but critical strategy for prehistoric populations who relied on cultivating sweet potato and taro in nutrient poor soils for their subsistence. The new WorldView-3 satellite offers researchers access to short-wave infrared (SWIR) bands, imagery that provides additional information about moisture content and mineral composition. While these bands should provide a better means for identifying lithic mulch gardens, this new imagery is currently only available at a lower spatial resolution than NIR images (7.5 m vs. 1.24 m). Here, I evaluate whether these lower-resolution SWIR images can be used for identifying “lithic mulch garden” features despite their resolution difference. Comparing the results of SWIR imagery with that of previous analyses reveals markedly similar classification accuracy despite having the lower spatial resolution. This result suggests that SWIR may provide a new tool for researchers interested in questions of prehistoric land-use that will become increasingly more powerful as greater spatial resolutions become available.

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Source: Davis, Dylan S.. “The Applicability of Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) Imagery for Archaeological Landscape Classification on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile.” Binghamton University Undergraduate Journal (2017): n. pag.
 

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  • Davis, Dylan S.. “The Applicability of Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) Imagery for Archaeological L...pdf
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