The native civilization of Easter Island had not collapsed when Europeans arrived
The native civilization of Easter Island was only destroyed AFTER the European colonizers arrived in the isolated nation in 1770 and brought diseases, slavery and murder.
- A long-standing theory states that native society collapsed around 1600 AD
- But researchers now know that this is not true and flourished in the 18th century.
- When European settlers arrived on the island, it flourished as usual.
- But disease, murder and slavery devastated the island and ruined its native culture.
There is a common belief that when European settlers arrived on Easter Island, native society was in decline after the collapse of its native culture.
But research has now found that local people were building their iconic monuments in the 18th century, contrary to the theory that stopped in 1600.
When Europeans arrived on the island in 1770, society still worked well.
However, the introduction of Europeans saw a rapid decline as disease, murder, slavery and other conflicts devastated the nation.
There is a common belief that when European settlers arrived on Easter Island, native society was in decline after the collapse of its native culture. But research has now found that local people were building their iconic monuments in the 18th century.
SCHOOL OF EASTER ISLAND
13th century: Rapa Nui is colonized by Polynesian seafarers.
Construction begins in some parts of the island's monuments.
Early fourteenth to mid fifteenth century: Rapid increase in construction.
1600: The date that was thought for a long time to mark the decline of the culture of Easter Island.
Construction was in progress.
1770: Spanish seafarers landed on the island. The island is in good working order.
1722: Dutch seafarers land on the island for the first time.
The monuments were used for rituals and showed no evidence of social decline.
1774: British explorer James Cook arrives at Rapa Nui
His crew described an island in crisis, with overturned monuments.
"The general thought has been that the society that Europeans saw when they first appeared was one that collapsed," said Robert DiNapoli, of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon, who led the analysis.
"Our conclusion is that the construction of monuments and investment were still important parts of their lives when these visitors arrived."
It is believed that Rapa Nui was colonized in the thirteenth century by Polynesian seafarers.
And for hundreds of years they survived and prospered, despite limited resources.
The investigation took radiocarbon data from 11 sites on the island and compared them with contemporary records of European settlers.
The researchers conclude that when Spanish and Dutch settlers landed on the island in 1770 and 1772, respectively, the statues were still in good condition.
There are still limited contemporary records, but they indicate that society was thriving
However, when James Cook arrives in 1774, he observes an island in crisis. Throughout their turmoil, the natives adhered to their traditions.
"Once Europeans arrive on the island, there are many tragic events documented due to illness, murder, assault of slaves and other conflicts," said Carl Lipo, an anthropologist at Binghamton University in New York, who co-authored the investigation. .
& # 39; These events are completely extrinsic to the islanders and have, without a doubt, devastating effects.
The researchers took radiocarbon data from 11 sites on the island and compared them with the records of European settlers. The researchers conclude that when Spanish and Dutch settlers arrived on the island in 1770 and 1772, respectively, the statues were in good condition.
"However, the people of Rapa Nui, following practices that provided them with great stability and success for hundreds of years, continue their traditions in the face of enormous difficulties."
The dating of the iconic Easter Island heads revealed that the construction of the monuments was a gradual process.
First a central platform is made and then statues, crematoriums, squares and hats are added.
"What we discovered is that once people started building monuments shortly after their arrival on the island, they continued this construction until the period after the arrival of Europeans," said Lipo.
& # 39; This would not have been the case if there had been a & # 39; collapse & # 39; prior to contact; in fact, we should have seen that all construction stopped long before 1722.
"The lack of that pattern supports our claims and directly falsifies those who continue to support the" collapse "account.
The research was published online in the Archaeological Science Magazine.
It is believed that Rapa Nui was colonized in the thirteenth century by Polynesian seafarers. Most of his famous sculptures were from the Ranu Raraku quarry
WHAT ARE THE STATUES IN EASTER ISLAND AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
What are the statues?
The Moai are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island, between 1,250 and 1,500 AD.
All figures have heads that are too large and are believed to be living faces of deified ancestors.
The 887 statues look inland across the island with an average height of 13 feet (four meters).
No one really knows how the colossal stone statues that protect Easter Island were placed in position.
Nor why during the decades that followed the discovery of the island by Dutch explorers in 1722, each statue was systematically shot down, or how the population of Rapa Nui islanders was decimated.
Wrapped in mystery, this small mass of triangular land, stranded in the middle of the South Pacific and 1,289 miles from its closest neighbor, has been the subject of endless books, articles and scientific theories.
All but 53 of the Moai were carved in tuff, compressed volcanic ash, and about 100 use red scum pukao.
What do they mean?
In 1979, archaeologists said the statues were designed to contain coral eyes.
It is believed that the figures are a symbol of authority and power.
They may have embodied former bosses and be depositors of spirits or & # 39; manna & # 39 ;.
They are positioned so that ancient ancestors watch over villages, while seven look at the sea to help travelers find land.
But it is a mystery as to how the vast carved stones were transported to their position.
In its remote location off the coast of Chile, it was believed that the ancient inhabitants of Easter Island had been eliminated by a bloody war, while fighting for the decline of the island's resources.
All they left were the iconic giant stone heads and an island full of sharp volcanic glass triangles, which some archaeologists have long believed were used as weapons.
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