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The Statues That Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island Hardcover – 21 Jun 2011


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Frequently Bought Together

The Statues That Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island + Mystery of Easter Island (Mystic Traveller) + A Companion To Easter Island (Guide To Rapa Nui)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (21 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439150311
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439150313
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 582,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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HardCover. Pub Date: June. 2011 Pages: 256 Publisher: Free Press of The Monumental statues by their of Easter Island. both SO Magisterial and SO forlorn Gazing out in their imposing rows over the ISLAND's Barren landscape. Have been the source of great mystery ever since the island was first discovered by Europeans on Easter Sunday 1722. How could the ancient people who inhabited this tiny speck of land. the most remote in the vast expanse of the Pacific islands. have built such monumental works No such astonishing numbers of massive statues are found anywhere else in the Pacific. How could the islanders possibly have moved so many multi-ton monoliths from the quarry inland. where they were carved. to their posts along the coastline And most intriguing and vexing of all. if the island once boasted a culture developed and sophisticated enough to have produced such marvelous e...

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Eleanor TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Oct 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Easter Island or Rapa Nui, with its massive stone carvings (moai), has long been a place of fascination. The prevailing account of its prehistory, offered by Jared Diamond among others, has been that the island's first inhabitants wiped themselves out, committing 'ecocide' by cutting down all the island's trees, spending precious time and resources carving and transporting moai, and fighting wars among themselves.

Hunt and Lipo, an archaeologist and anthropologist respectively, challenge this narrative by using archaeological, anthropological, and documentary evidence to interrogate a number of assumptions. They argue instead that 'rather than a case of abject failure, Rapa Nui is an unlikely story of success'. Collapse, they argue, only came after European contact.

The archaeological evidence offered by the authors is compelling and they build a convincing case, although I was more doubtful about some of the arguments taken from sociobiology. As a layperson I found the book clear, readable, and enjoyable. Hunt and Lipo paint a fascinating picture of the island's prehistory, and I also enjoyed their descriptions of archaeological research and reasoning. Throughout the emphasis is on the collaborative nature of their findings and the contributions of past visitors to the island.

The kindle edition of the book contains a few formatting errors and the tables have been slightly mangled in the conversion; it does include the book's photographs and diagrams, although some of these aren't terribly clear.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Max Blackston on 29 Nov 2011
Format: Hardcover
Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is a remote island in the eastern Pacific, scattered with the remains of huge monolithic statues; with a native population whose collective memory of their pre-historic culture has been virtually eliminated by the ravages of their contact with "civilization" over the last 200 years or so, it presents a mystery that many modern researchers have tried to solve. Why did they construct so many of the giant statues ? How did the inhabitants survive for hundreds of years in such a marginal ecological environment - the island has irregular rainfall, no sources of running water, and its volcanic soils are leached of important minerals, and consequently unproductive for many crops that are staple on other Polynesian islands ? Is there in fact a connection between the expenditure of the limited natural resources of the island on building the statues, the current exhausted state of the island's ecosystem, and the virtual collapse of the native population (down to 110 individuals in 1877) in historic times ?

It is this last hypothesis which has been most explicitly espoused by Jared Diamond in his 2005 book "Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed". Diamond describes how the reckless use of resources in the quarrying, transportation and erection of the giant statues first denuded the island of its trees, and led to the consequent erosion and mineral impoverishment of its soils; then how rivalry between different clans for the few remaining resources led to intercommunal violence, and the breakdown and final collapse of island society.

The research carried out personally by the present authors leads them to a completely different narrative. Yes, the arrival of the Polynesian colonists in about 1200 AD led to the destruction of the native palm forests.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By barbicandy on 8 April 2014
Format: Paperback
This book has something new to say about Easter Island and says it clearly and engrossingly. Written by two archaeologists with a scrupulous concern for evidence and documentation (which gets in the way of the narrative from time to time) this book starts with an account of the researchers’ team’s work that challenges a number of assumptions about Easter island, notably that overpopulation and wars on the island had led to the exhaustion of natural resources and the ending of its culture and evidence the suggestion that the depredations of the Polynesian rat that accompanied the first settlers and European diseases had been a more important factor. The story is told is a dispassionate and objective fashion that will alienate some readers but which encourages them to consider the evidence for themselves rather than accept a story told with the rhetorical and journalistic flourishes that have marred some previous accounts. One of the final chapters summarises the history of the island since its western discovery, which would have fitted arguably neater the start of the book. One of the most remarkable features of the book is the clarity with which the authors explain some concepts such as the idea of carbon dating in relation to the island. It really is a model of scientific demystification. If some other topics such as gender relations are not exemplified with the same clarity and some areas such as the fossil and other evidence for the extinct flora and fauna if the island then that is minor cavil. This is a demanding read that sits uneasily between scientific and general readerships but is well worth tackling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Macey on 2 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting theories - so much has been written on these mysterious statues but this book did have good reasoning - so all in all a good read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Creelan on 27 Feb 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Okay.... can be a bit academic,at times, but that was partly what I was looking. A really clear examination of all research, history and theories relating to all aspects of life on Rapa Nui...... This is the most up to date and comprehensive volume to date, easily readable and very informative. I liked the style of presentation and the flow of information in the way a range of ideas etc were examined. If you are really interested in the Island... this is a must.
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