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 1722 How could the ancient people who inhabited this tiny speck of land, the most remote in the vast expanse of the Pacific islands, have built such monumental works No such astonishing numbers of massive statues are found anywhere else in the Pacific How could the islanders possibly have moved so many multi ton monoliths from the quarry inland, where they were carved, to their posts along the coastline And most intriguing and vexing of all, if the island once boasted a culture developed and sophisticated enough to have produced such marvelous edifices, what happened to that culture Why was the island the Europeans encountered a sparsely populated wasteland The prevailing accounts of the islands history tell a story of self inflicted devastation a glaring case of eco suicide The island was dominated by a powerful chiefdom that promulgated a cult of statue making, exercising a ruthless hold on the islands people and rapaciously destroying the environment, cutting down a lush palm forest that once blanketed the island in order to construct contraptions for moving and statues, which grew larger and larger As the population swelled in order to sustain the statue cult, growing well beyond the islands agricultural capacity, a vicious cycle of warfare broke out between opposing groups, and the culture ultimately suffered a dramatic collapse.In this lively and fascinating account, Hunt and Lipo offer a definitive solution to the mystery of what really happened on the island Far from irresponsible environmental destroyers, they show, the Easter Islanders were remarkably inventive environmental stewards, devising ingenious methods to enhance the islands agricultural capacity They did not devastate the palm forest, and the culture did not descend into brutal violence Perhaps most surprising of all, the making and moving of their enormous statutes did not require a bloated population or tax their precious resources their statue building was actually integral to their ability to achieve a delicate balance of sustainability The Easter Islanders, it turns out, offer us an impressive record of masterful environmental management rich with lessons for confronting the daunting environmental challenges of our own time....
|Title||:||The Statues that Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island|
|Publisher||:||Counterpoint Reprint edition October 30, 2012|
|Number of Pages||:||256 pages|
|File Size||:||686 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Statues that Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island Reviews
This is written by real anthropologists who lived and worked on Easter Island for many years. They taught grad students, engaged in field work and talked to the natives. They had initially succumbed to the main stream Jared Diamond style account. But as they detail, in this very well written book, they kept running into evidence that that account was almost certainly wrong.
With the exception of Chapter 8, this is a really good summary of current thinking about Easter Island. The authors present a good synthesis of previous research and also propose (for the most part) well researched ideas about other possible aspects, such as the impact of rats on the island’s ecology, the use of “rock mulch”, and the mapping of roads probably used to move the statues. This is all presented clearly, with useful references for those who are interested but plenty of descriptive documentation for those who aren’t. As someone who talks about Rapa Nui in class, this will be a very useful resource.
Popularized books and articles about Easter Island tend to fall into one of two categories. The first is the "amazing mysteries" genre, about how the people of the island were so ingenious that they created and moved huge statues in ways that "modern science" can't figure out. The other is the ecological-cautionary-tale genre, about how the people of the island were so foolish that they cut down all the trees. Both are more concerned with contemporary commerical or ideological ends than with trying to figure out what actually happened on the island.