Polynesians Contacted Native Americans Long Before European Contact

We've had some ideas that prehistoric Polynesian expansions made contact with Native Americans before European contact. For example, the sweet potato, a staple of Polynesian diets for hundreds of years, made its way to Andean culture where it was domesticated. And we've identified that some current Rapa Nui people have Native American DNA dating back... Continue Reading →

Rethinking Jared Diamond’s “Collapse” of Easter Island

Easter Island or Rapa Nui is famous for moai, giant monumental statues, which were built approx. 800 years ago by early inhabitants of the island. Many debate on the cultural significance of these monuments. Many also debate how a Stone Age culture managed not only carve but transport these 92 ton statues onto ahu platforms.... Continue Reading →

How did the Eastern Island Maoi Get 13-Ton Hats

One of my interests in the peopling of the Americas are the Easter Island maoi statues made by the Rapanui people. I've posted before about how they were moved. As if the moai themselves weren't impressive enough, a new paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science looks at how this preindustrial society put 13-ton hats or... Continue Reading →

Easter Island Wasn’t Destroyed By War

For centuries, there has been this belief that Rapa Nui suffered a catastrophic population crash, possibly due to war. But there is no scientific evidence to support this idea, say a group of researchers in the latest issue of the journal Antiquity. The authors studied sharpened pieces of obsidian, called mata'a, which look  to the... Continue Reading →

Moving The Moai

The July 2012 edition of the National Geographic magazine features a cover story on Easter Island's statues and how these enormous 33 feet tall and 80 ton statues or moai came to existence. Just how the moai were constructed, transported and erected on Easter Island remains a mystery, one leading to a lot of speculation. To my count, there have been five or... Continue Reading →

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