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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Walking with statues, 8 April 2014
This review is from: The Statues That Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island (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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