Officially the Island is a territory of Chile and a few of the worlds most isolated regions, located on a triangle of volcanic rock in the South Pacific over 2,000 miles from the nearest population centres of Tahiti and Chile.
The island is famous as one of the planet’s most sacred sites, famous for its giant stone busts, built centuries ago, they signify the history of this stunning rise and fall of an isolated Egyptian civilization.
Locally today it is known as Rapa Nui.
There’s been much controversy and confusion regarding the source of the Easter Islanders. Some believe Peruvians constructed the figurines, some believe that the Island is a piece of a continent that was lost. DNA has proven that Polynesians were the first settlers arriving around 400 AD in the west in large ships. This is regarded as remarkable given that Easter Island is such a great distance from other land. Legend has it they were searching for other land as their very own island was being swallowed by the sea.
The island was a paradise and the islanders prospered – archaeological evidence proves that the island was covered with an assortment of numerous trees, including the greatest palm tree species on the planet. The natives used the wood and bark to get cloth, rope, and canoes. Birds were plentiful and provided meals. The climate was mild and the water supplied a wealth of oysters and fish.
Their religion developed with its centerpiece the giant moai, or heads, that are the island’s most distinguishing feature today. This was likely considered a boon or a watchful eye over every little village. The ruins of the Rano Raraku crater, the stone quarry where hundreds of moai sit today, show how these figures were important. The birdman culture (as seen in the petroglyphs) was obviously the islanders’ fascination with their ability to travel to distant lands.
In addition to the statues, petroglyphs (stone carvings), conventional wood carvings, tapa (barkcloth), crafts, tattooing, series figures, dancing and music, the islanders owned the Rongorongo script, the only written language in Oceania. As time went on optimism in their faith was dropped as disagreements broke out.
At its peak the island had more than 10,000 population, straining the capability of it is ecosystem. Because of this lush palm forests were destroyed for agriculture along with the massive figurines, and resources became scarce. The once thriving advanced social network descended into a bloody civil war, also apparently cannibalism since they ran from food resources. The islanders ripped down the figurines, which today have been erected by archaeological efforts.
Through contact with western civilization, slavery and disease the island inhabitants by around 1800 had fallen to approximately 110. Around 1888 after the annexation of Chile the population climbed to more than 2,000. Despite the Chilean presence there’s still a powerful Polynesian identity.
Accessibility is from Chile and Tahiti, tourism around the island is run by the Rapanui themselves. There are many package tours and various resorts and guesthouses on the Island. There are opportunities to remain in a private home, a great way to have the island and culture.
There are isla de pascua todo incluido of continuing excavations, preservation and conservation projects.All but one of the 22 standing statues in Rano Raraku Quarry inside have been previously exposed through unscientific and undocumented digging.
The Easter Island Statue Project (EISP) has a 20 year history of an archaeological survey, the aim of which will be the invention of a complete, complete, island-wide monolithic and portable statue inventory and the compilation of an historical picture record for every.
In 1982 the EISP group started a 5 year Easter Island Statue Project, mapping the interior of Rano Raraku, the volcanic quarry where 95 percent of the figurines were created. Over one thousand statues were documented throughout the Whole island and created the world’s largest archaeological record
Rano Raraku, a volcanic crater on the island’s eastern plain, was the source of the sideromelane (basaltic) by which 95% of the statues were carved. This origin is irrefutable as you will find 397 in situ figurines, of which 141 at a variety of stages of completion have recently been mapped by EISP in the inside quarries.