Discovery of Easter Island: experts solve the mystery of ancient monuments

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The experts unveiled more secrets of the mysterious ancient monuments of Easter Island.

The famous statues, or moai, are supported by monumental platforms called ahu. Researchers have long wondered why monuments have been placed at specific locations on the island.

Today, an expert team has used spatial modeling techniques to establish the relationship between Ahu building and natural resources on Easter Island, or Rapa Nui. They discovered that the Ahu had been built near freshwater sources, limited on the island.

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"The issue of water availability (or lack thereof) has often been raised by researchers working at Rapa Nui / Easter Island," said Carl Lipo, an anthropologist at Binghamton University's State University of New York. "When we started to look at the details of hydrology, we noticed that access to fresh water and the location of the statue were closely related. was not obvious when you walk in. The water emerging on the coast at low tide does not necessarily see any obvious signs of water.

Stock Photo - Statues at Anakena Beach, Easter Island, Chile.

Stock Photo – Statues at Anakena Beach, Easter Island, Chile.
(Photo by Eric LAFFORGUE / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

"The places without ahu / moai have not shown any fresh water," he added. "The pattern was striking and surprising in its consistency."

Researchers had already identified the groundwater discharge in coastal areas as a key factor in the positioning of statues on the Easter Island coast. During the last phase of the research, the experts examined the link between the availability of fresh water in certain areas and the methods and means of building statues.

THE OLD EASTERN CIVILIZATION OF EASTER IS NOT DESTROYED BY THE WAR, SAY THE EXPERTS

About 900 statues, or moai, are scattered around Easter Island.

Around 1955: Two ancient statues of uncertain origin on Easter Island, south of the Pacific Ocean.

Around 1955: Two ancient statues of uncertain origin on Easter Island, south of the Pacific Ocean.
(Photo by Richard Harrington / Three Lions / Getty Images)

"Monuments and statues are located in places giving access to a vital resource for islanders – freshwater," said Terry Hunt of the University of New York. Arizona, in a statement: "The monuments and statues of the divinized ancestors of the islanders reflect generations of sharing, perhaps in everyday life – centered on water, but also on the food links, family and social, as well as cultural traditions that have enhanced knowledge of the precarious sustainability of the island. "

Hunt pointed out that the island's cooperative culture could explain the survival of islanders for centuries despite limited natural resources.

THE OLD EASTERN CIVILIZATION OF EASTER IS NOT DESTROYED BY THE WAR, SAY THE EXPERTS

The researchers have compiled comprehensive data on the western part of Easter Island and are planning to conduct a comprehensive survey on this famous site.

Hoa Hakananai & # 39; a, from Orongo, Easter Island (Rapa Nui). The stone statues of human silhouettes of Easter Island, known as the moai, were probably carved to commemorate important ancestors and were made around 1000 AD until we reached the end of the 20th century. In the second half of the 17th century. From the collection of the British Museum.

Hoa Hakananai & # 39; a, from Orongo, Easter Island (Rapa Nui). The stone statues of human silhouettes of Easter Island, known as the moai, were probably carved to commemorate important ancestors and were made around 1000 AD until we reached the end of the 20th century. In the second half of the 17th century. From the collection of the British Museum.
(Photo by CM Dixon / Print Collector / Getty Images)

Experts from the University of Oregon, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Auckland and California State University, Long Beach also participated in the research. The document was published in the journal Plos One.

The remote Pacific island, located more than 3,000 km from the Chilean coast, continues to fascinate historians. Last year, researchers, including experts from the University of Binghamton, explained how ancient islanders had been able to place huge stone hats on the statues.

DISCOVERING EASTER ISLAND: EXPERTS DISCOVER THE MYSTERY OF OLD STATUES

In 2016, research conducted on artifacts on the island questioned the theory that the ancient civilization would have been destroyed by the war.

File photo - An elderly woman sits reading near a large stone statue or moai from Easter Island exhibited at the British Museum in London in 1967.

File photo – An elderly woman sits reading near a large stone statue or moai from Easter Island exhibited at the British Museum in London in 1967.
(Photo by Romano Cagnoni / Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Experts, also from the University of Binghamton, have studied hundreds of ancient artifacts found on the shores of Easter Island. Previously, artifacts were thought to be milestones, but the analysis reveals that they were probably general-purpose tools.

Carved in obsidian or volcanic glass, thousands of triangular objects, called mata's, litter the surface of the island.

THE EASTERN ISLANDS ARCHEOLOGY PROJECT IS RELEASING THE SECRETS OF THE ISLAND

Some scientists have estimated that at its peak the population of Easter Island could reach 20,000, but it has fallen over the centuries after the trees and palms of the island were shot down to build canoes and carry its famous giant statues. One theory suggests that deforestation has led to soil erosion, affecting the island's ability to support wildlife and agriculture and the collapse of its civilization.

When the Dutch arrived on the island in 1722, its population was 3,000 or less. In 1877, only 111 inhabitants lived on Easter Island.

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However, other experts wondered if Easter Island had already hosted a large population, citing instead the arrival of Europeans, who caused disease and enslaved islanders.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers