Easter Island is a Polynesian island that covers roughly 64 square miles in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, and it is located near Chile’s west coast and east of Tahiti. Easter Island is famous for its giant stone statues, or moai, that were carved from basalt, obsidian, red scoria, and tuff during 1100-1680 CE (Beck, J. Warren 2003).
When Polynesians, who settled the island first, brought bananas, taro, sweet potatoes, sugar crane, chickens, rats, and other plants and animals. Although Easter Island is an isolated island, fish accounted for less than a quarter of their diet. This situation is due to the geographic location of the Easter Island. The Easter Island is far from the equator, and the temperature of water is not conductive to the survival of the coral and fish, and most of the surroundings of the island are cliffs, hence fishing on its shores is really hard. Also, it is believed that there were high ...view middle of the document...
These statues were related to islanders’ religious and ritual practices. There was rivalry between clans based on which clan could sculpt and transport largest statue to their territory. The moai were carved in the walls of the crater, with its back is attached to the ground by a thin keel that was only chipped away when the carving was complete. The statue had ti be removed from the keel when the front of the statue was finished. The islanders used rope to tie the statue to tree trunks to slid the statue down the slope. The pollen records show that islanders began harvesting trees around 800 AD. Since the population was increasing continuously, islanders cut down more and more trees to build boats and tools for dolphins hunting and build statues. Woods were used to build massive sleds and wooden skids to hold the statues; and the fibrous tree bark was used to make ropes that can be pulled by 50-500 people. A large now extinct palm, Paschalococos related to Chilean wine palm. According to fossil evidence, Paschalococos was a dominant tree species in the island. However, this species, whose only occurrence was at the Easter Island, became extinct because of the deforestation caused by some of the early settlers (Hogan 2008).
Dramatic changes in the environment of Easter Island led tremendous impact to the inhabitants of the island. All terrestrial island bird and half of the seabirds were extinct due to human predation. Shellfish also experienced a significant reduction due to overfishing. Deforestation led to no wood to replace harpoons or repair canoes, therefore, islanders were unable to fish to maintain dolphin in their diet. Rapa Nui people became peasant and dependent on crops. However, the deforestation also had caused erosion and salinization of the land, as a result, there was a progressive decline in crop yields. Captain Cook in 1774 described inhabitants of the Easter Island as “small, lean, timid, and miserable” (Diamond 2005). With the depletion of the resources of the island, there was not enough food to feed the community’s remaining priests and nobles of the ruling class, the original complex social structure collapsed.