2Long ago, on a tiny island located in the most remote location of the Pacific and perhapsthe world, a people migrated who brought with them scrolls of a mysterioushieroglyphics. This sounds like the beginning of a science fiction adventure, but it is a
reality and riddle integral to human history. Their original migrating chief‘s name was
and their island,
Te Pito te Henua
, the End of the Earth. Admiral Roggeveen
and his crew introduced the island, today‘s
to colonial Europe on EasterSunday, April 5
, 1721 and so they called it Easter Island.
Figure: Rapa Nui
in the remote South Pacific from NASA
From perhaps 500 c.e.
Te Pito o te Henua
grew to a few thousand inhabitants. TheGonzalez expedition of 1770 found a bountiful island with several gardens, onemeasuring 1.5 miles by 0.75 mile, filled with sugar cane, sweet potatoes, taro, yams,white gourds and more. The islanders were skilled in fishing while casting nets from theshore, cliff diving with spears and deep sea Tuna fishing.There was a vibrant ceremonial culture on
with a yearly
Bird-man Egg Hunt. The clan that found the first egg layed by the Sooty Tern would crowntheir chief as king of the island for the entire year. The clan chose a youthful contestantwho was required to swim two kilometres to the island of Motu Nui, the seasonal nestingsite. A tattooing rite of passage initiated this ceremony, with a great procession decoratedwith costume, dancing, feasting and chants.
priests read the most sacred chantsfrom tablets of this mysterious hieroglyphs, called
writing boards. Asample of a
writing tablet is given below: