Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
Few places on earth arouse the intrigue and curiosity of modern people as much as Easter Island. One of the most remote places on earth, it is home to one of the most fascinating and puzzling stories in all of human history. With nearly 1000 carved stone statues (Moai), Easter Island has defied explanation since the time of initial European discovery in 1772. While the reasons for carving the giant statues are generally known, how they were moved and erected remains debated. More contentious, some have argued that the Rapa Nui culture of Easter Island was in serious decline when first contacted by Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen. Others argue the culture was thriving and in no danger of collapse. This talk takes the audience to Easter Island, illustrates the magnificent Moai, discusses the various theories of their creation, and explores the question of Easter Island as an example of cultural collapse or one of sustainable (albeit spectacular) socio/religious development.