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The Decipherment of the Easter Island Tablets

The Decipherment of the Easter Island Tablets

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Published by FindingTurtleIsland
A new approach to deciphering the Easter Island tablets to include Indigenous World-view has led to the finding of several Polynesian chants on the Rongorongo writing tablets of Rapa Nui. The translation of these chants for the first time is credited to the way Indigenous peoples weave creation into their human identity.
A new approach to deciphering the Easter Island tablets to include Indigenous World-view has led to the finding of several Polynesian chants on the Rongorongo writing tablets of Rapa Nui. The translation of these chants for the first time is credited to the way Indigenous peoples weave creation into their human identity.

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Published by: FindingTurtleIsland on Feb 27, 2013
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09/15/2013

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 1
IntroductionMythological Contextof the Easter Island Tablets
 
 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
 Hotu Matua
and their island,
Te Pito te Henua
, the End of the Earth. Admiral Roggeveen
and his crew introduced the island, today‘s
 Rapa Nui,
to colonial Europe on EasterSunday, April 5
th
, 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
 Rapa Nui
with a yearly
Tangata Manu
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.
Tohunga
priests read the most sacred chantsfrom tablets of this mysterious hieroglyphs, called
Tohau rongorongo
writing boards. Asample of a
 Rongorongo
writing tablet is given below:
 
 3
Figure: Rongorongo
writing tablet
 Holding these tablets the Tohunga recited their prayers for a successful
Tangata Manu
Egg Hunt from stone prayer houses in the ceremonial village of 
Orongo
high atop thevolcano crater, Rano Kao. Below is an illustration of the appearance inside one of theseprayer houses from the perspective of the
Tohunga
reciting the incantations directly off of a
 Rongorongo
board.
Figure: Stone prayer house atop Rongorongo village.
To understand what is written on these tablets it is important to clarify the purpose of thisprayer house and its sacred artifacts. There are four artifacts illustrated. The tablet itself in the lower left contains chants that assist the Bird-man in his swim to retrieve the firstegg of the Sooty Tern, called the
Tavake
by the islanders. Some of these chants aredeciphered syllable by syllable, word for word in the chapters below. In the lower rightis a stone with a Bird-man carving. He is carrying the first egg and, therefore, representsthe winning contestant of the
Tangata-manu
egg hunt. Painted on the ceiling of the stone

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