PerspectiveArchaeology

Easter Island Revisited

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Science  21 Sep 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5845, pp. 1692-1694
DOI: 10.1126/science.1138442

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  1. Before human arrival.

    In this artist's view, the Poike Peninsula is covered with a forest dominated by a giant palm tree, now extinct.

    CREDIT: ANDREAS MIETH/UNIVERSITY OF KIEL, REPRINTED FROM (22) WITH PERMISSION FROM THE WISSENSCHAFTLICHE BUCHGESELLSCHAFT, DARMSTADT, GERMANY.
  2. No mean feat.

    Van Tilburg and Ralston (11) enlisted modern islanders to drag a 9-ton statue over a distance of 10 km, using methods described in oral traditions. The task required 70 adults pulling in unison, supported and fed by their families numbering about 400 people. By extrapolation, Ahu Tongariki's big statues required a population of thousands in the eastern chiefdoms alone.

    CREDIT: EASTER ISLAND STATUE PROJECT