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The Mysteries of Easter Island

The Mysteries of Easter Island

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Published by Grapes als Priya

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Published by: Grapes als Priya on Jun 01, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Easter Island is emblematic o ancient mysteries.Located in the remote South Pacic just belowthe Tropic o Capricorn some 3,700 kilometers(2300 miles) west o mainland Chile and over2,000 kilometers (over 1200 miles) rom anyother inhabited island, it is oten considered themost remote location on Earth. Also known asRapa Nui, Isla de Pascua, and Te Pito Te Henua,the latter name has been translated as “the navelo the world,” “navel and uterus,” or “ends o theland,” apparently reerring to both the isolationo the island, and the volcanic craters thatcompose it. The island is triangular in shape, andso small that one can walk around its entire coastin less than two days. But, within this perimetermysteries abound.The island remained bathed in secrecy, unknownto the Western world until its discovery by JacobRoggeveen on Easter Sunday, 1722. The giantstone sculpted heads and torsos, known as moai,that are ound in the hundreds on the island aremegalithic mysteries. Enormous in size – erectedmoai are up to 10 meters (33 eet) tall andweigh up to 75 tons or more, and an unnishedmoai is some 21 meters (69 eet) long with anestimated weight o over 250 tons – they bogglethe imagination. How and why were they carved?By whom and when? These are still unansweredquestions; to this day the moai have eluded ourbest eorts to truly decipher their meaning.
Gary Baddeley
President, The Disinormation Company
te Myseies  Ease Isa:
A Ppsa  Ivesiae a Pssiy uve Siifa ne Eviee
Robert M. Schoch
, Ph.D.
Boston University
The standard modern “solution” to the enigmao Easter Island is that the earliest o thehundreds o moai were constructed, beginningaround a thousand to 1500 years ago, when therst Polynesian settlers arrived on Easter Island,and moai carving continued until around theseventeenth century, ceasing shortly prior toEuropean contact. The moai, according to thisscenario, were essentially part o an ancestor andburial cult. The productiono moai ceased asthe Easter Islanders deorested their land andconsequently brought environmental devastationto their tiny island, ultimately sparking tribalwarare, an impoverished society, and evencannibalism. But does this story, which inrecent decades has gained wide circulation inboth scientic and popular circles, really standup to scrutiny? A clear analysis o the evidencedoes not convincingly support the “nativesdestroyed their environment” scenario (BennyPeiser, “From Geonocide to Ecocide: The Rapeo Rapa Nui.”
 Energy and Environment 
, vol. 16,nos. 3 & 4, pp. 513-539 [2005]). Rather, this maysimply be a Western myth that both masks thedestruction brought to the island and its cultureby European contact (which included notoriousslave raids and eective genocide) and denies thetrue magnicence, antiquity, and high culturaland technological achievements o Easter Islandcivilization.It was with such thoughts in mind that in January2010 we undertook a short reconnaissanceexcursion to Easter Island to look into themysteries or ourselves.
Exploring Easter Island rst-hand, we quicklybecame convinced that the standard explanationor the remarkable indigenous civilization on theisland does not necessarily hold up under detailedexamination. Here we outline just a ew o theopen questions we have, based on our originalresearch, which we will address urther in a ull-fedged research expedition.
1) The chronology and dating of the moai.
 The standard story o Easter Island does not detailthe relative dating o the various moai, and in actrelegates all o these statues to a airly late timeperiod, on the order o approximately a thousandto 1500 years ago at the most.Studying the moai with a geological eye, Schochwas particularly impressed by the varying degreeso weathering and erosion seen on dierent moai,which could be telltale signs o major discrepanciesin their ages. The levels o sedimentation aroundcertain moai also impressed him. Some moai havebeen buried in up to an estimated six meters(20 eet) o sediment, or more, such that eventhough they are standing erect, only their chinsand heads are above the current ground level.Such high levels o sedimentation could occurquickly, or instance, i there were catastrophiclandslides or mudfows, but Schoch could not ndany such evidence (and landslides would tend toshit and knock over the tall statues). Rather, tohis eye, the sedimentation around certain moaisuggests a much more extreme antiquity thanmost conventional archaeologists and historiansbelieve to be the case.Not only does sedimentation around the statuessuggest a longer and dierent chronologythan conventionally accepted, but so too doweathering and erosion patterns, and stylisticconsiderations. Although on one level most o themoai are stylistically similar and even stereotypic,at another level each is unique and they could,Schoch believes, be categorized according tostylistic considerations. The moai should, inaddition, be sorted according to lithology (stonetype) as well as weathering and erosion levels(taking orientation and relative exposure to theelements into account). Another key to solvingthe problem will be to compare weathering,erosion, and sedimentation rates in historicaltimes. Schoch has begun to gather photographso various moai and landorms on Easter Islandtaken over the last 130 years so as to comparethem geologically to their conditions today, and inthis way attempt to get a quantitative handle onweathering, erosion, and sedimentation rates.

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