about UFO's, Atlantis, and vanished advanced ancient races has always
been a part of the Easter Island debate. Science has made great strides
in understanding who made the giant statues of Easter Island and has put
to rest these bizarre stories. This short pictorial essay will hopefully
clear up continuing misconceptions about Easter Island and perhaps will
get you thinking about how the story of Easter Island relates to what
we as humans are currently doing to our planet. This is a story everyone
Easter Island Story
Island--Rapa Nui is a tiny speck of land in the South Pacific. Formed by a series of massive
volcanic eruptions, the island was only inhabited by sea birds and dragonflies
for millions of years. Its steep slopes, however, stood out like a beacon
to a weary group of Polynesian seafarers. How long their voyage took or
their reasons for leaving their home country are questions that we'll
never have the answer to, but we can imagine their joy at seeing this
sight after what must have been months at sea
and pounding waves have created hundreds of sea caves and a treacherous
coastline. There are only a few small areas that are safe for anchorages. Located
in the South Pacific between Chile and Tahiti, Easter Island is one
of the most isolated inhabited islands in the world. Roughly triangular
and covering only 64 square miles, it formed when a plume of hot material
rose from deep within Earth's interior, burned through the crust and
erupted onto the surface as lava.
volcanic cones are found at each point of the island. The largest, Rano
Kau is easily visible from space. The highest is Terevaka, which rises to
11674 feet above sea level. There are over 70 eruptive centers on the island
but none has known activity since the island was colonized 1300 years ago.
Beach, North Shore This sheltered
sand beach is close to Anakena, where the legends say King Hoto Matua
landed his double hulled canoe, thus beginning the occupation of Easter
a beautiful white sand beach stands out from the rest of the coastline,
which is either sharp black lava rock or vertical cliff faces hundreds of
It is at
Anakena that the legends say Hotu Matua landed and began the colonization
of the island. Excavations of this area have discovered that it was an
important site and it boasts one of the best collections of erected moai
on the island, Ahu Naunau.
The voyagers started constructing villages
and houses made in an unusual elliptical shape. It has been speculated
that this style of construction started when the new arrivals turned their
boats upside down for quick housing. There were literally hundreds of
remains of these foundations on the island in the 1800's, but most were
destroyed by the missionaries to make fences.
missionaries did more damage to the island's history than even the Peruvian
slave traders, which carted off most of the island's population. Those
who escaped by hiding in the island's many caves were "saved"
by these missionaries, who proceeded to destroy all the islanders' wooden
sculptures, religious artifacts and most importantly, the Rongo-Rongo
tablets, which contained a record of the lost language of the Rapa Nui.
So few of these tablets remain that no one has been able to decipher them.
islanders found a lush island, filled with giant palms which they used
to build boats and housing. The plants they brought with them did well
in the rich volcanic soil and by AD 1550 population on the island hit
a high of between 7000 and 9000.
clans formed as the population increased and various population centers
grew up in different areas of the island. One thing tied them all together
however the statue construction and the cult that formed around
2. Statue Construction
1. Arrival - 2. Statue Construction - 3. Erecting the Moai - 4.Conflict - 5. A New Cult - 6. Lesson from the Past
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