The Statues that Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island
The monumental statues of Easter Island, both so magisterial and so forlorn, gazing out in their imposing rows over the island’s barren landscape, have been the source of great mystery ever since the island was first discovered by Europeans on Easter Sunday 1722. How could the ancient people who inhabited this tiny speck of land, the most remote in the vast expanse of the...more
The authors are two archaeologist, Terry Hunt from the University of ...more
I don't have too much to say on this one without spoiling it, so I wi ...more
I am not sure how much my reaction to this book was informed by having recently read Flenley and Bahn's more recent book on Easter Island. In particular, because it meant I knew more about the investigations about East ...more
The received wisdom for the last several decades has been that the ...more
The authors dig around and make the case for tweaking the narrative of the pre-European history of the island. The presentation is methodical and understated, but never grinds to a halt.
Based on the premise of the book I was fearing that a bunch of Noble Savage-ish sentiment would be shoved down the re ...more
Hunt and Lipo have done a lot of research and a lot of digging, and they have created a comp ...more
Reasons this book is good:
- The author recognizes the colonialist past and the racist and colonialist interpretations of the archaeological material done by sev ...more
The history (and mystery) of Easter Island is absolutely fascinating but with the "mystery" comes the fallacy of interpretation and assumption.
While I appreciate archeologists and their work I can't say that I envy them. It seems like a major pain in the ass to dig and dig and pray you get a bone or tool or weapon just to send it off for someone else to analyze and then imagine what one of thousands of uses this must have had for th ...more
The book is ultimately a fairly dry account of the findings of Terry Hunt and a team of graduate students who did some archeology on the Island a few years back. In addition, Hunt does some synthesis of older works including that of Thor Heyerdahl. ...more
The author taps into prior work by other investigators, and identifies where there is conflicting conclusions or supporting data. The author also gives these prior investigators credit where credit is due.
The description of how the statues were "walked" to their location is s ...more
Careful and methodical research has shown the high level of development in the islanders' agricultural methods. They achieved yields of food crops from infertile soil under constant battering by wind and salt spray, and sustained a high population from very little arable land.
At the same time, the authors show that people were not directly responsible for the deforestation of the isla ...more
The monumental statues of Easter Island, so magisterial and so forlorn, gazing out in their imposing rows over the islands barren landscape, have been the source of great mystery ever since first discovered by Europeans on Easter Sunday 1727. How could the ancient people who inhabited this tiny speck of land, the most remote in the vast Pacific Islands, have built such monume ...more
1) Easter Island was not deforested by a statue-mad culture cut down every tree on the island in their quest to carve more moai, but by the rats the original settlers brought with them.
2) A small group of people with ropes can "walk" a huge statue just like you can walk your refrigerator across your k ...more
Although there is no complete explanation for why the statues were made and transported in the first place, all the hows are worked out. Incredible as it seems, they were 'walked' or shifted in the same way we might move a refrigerator in our own homes.
There was likely no huge battle betwe ...more