Piths ∓ Particulars

Piths and particulars


Approximately 600 moai on the island.


There are three volcanoes on the island, all extinct.

The island is composed of these three principal volcanoes and more than 70 subsidiary vents. Rano Kau, which contains a flat-bottomed, 1-km-wide crater, and Poike volcano form the SW and east tips of the island, respectively, and are of Pliocene age. The youngest and largest volcano, Terevaka, is a broad shield volcano of Pliocene-to-Pleistocene age at the northern leg of the triangular island that is capped by many pyroclastic cones. The last stage of activity consisted of eruptions from multiple rift zones extending along the axes of the island and radially from them. The latest lava flows, at Hiva-Hiva near the west-central coast, are thought to be less than 2000 years old.

Reference: Global Volcanism Program

Fire trench

Early history on Easter island has two main traditions. The first, the story of a conflict between the 'Long Ears' (Hanau Epe) and the 'Short Ears' (Hanau Momoko) who apparently lived scattered amongst each other rather than in separate groups, begins with seven sons of one family being killed by one Ko Ita for cannibalism. The Long Ears hid at Poike where they made a ditch (a.k.s The Fire Trench), planning to drive their enemies into it and burn them but the Short Ear wife of one of them betrayed them and they were driven into their own trap.

However, archaeological research at the battle site does not bear out the story of the fire trench. Poike is not a generic Rapa Nui word and occurs in a myth in which two Tongan brothers ravaged the mythical island of Yayake (where Poike was) in revenge for the deaths of two Tongan women so it is possible that it was a reworking or this earlier myth. The second story was recorded by Englert - a man who was descended from the only Long Ear survivor was one of the first to go on board the Dutch ships but was then killed the following day when shots were fired into the crowds and describes how the Dutch 'gave him liquid and food but he did not eat or drink. He took the liquid and washed himself with it by pouring it over his head.'

Reference: Gaming Geeks


Padre Sebastián Englert Anthropological Museum, Hanga Roa, Easter Island

Established by Sebastián Englert, a German priest who arrived in the island in 1935. Aside from his religious duties, he took an interest in the Easter Island culture and studied the language, oral traditions and archaeological remains.

The museum contains an archaeological and bibliographic collection, specializing in the local culture. The main exhibits are paintings, religious items and carved figures, as well as the only feminine Moai.

British Museum, London, England

The moai Stolen Friend a.k.a. Hoa Haka Nana Ia, taken by H.M.S. Topaze. Housed in the Museum of Mankind until the late 1990's, moved to the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court within the British Museum, London, in 2000 and later moved into a room off the Great Court.


Admiral Jacob Roggeveen, 1659 - 1729

Discovered Easter Island during a failed search for the "Southern Continent".

Katherine Routledge, 1866-1935

Stewardess of the Mana expedition to Easter Island. Feb 1913 - June 1916

In 1910 the William and Katerhine Routledges decided to organize their own expedition to Easter Island (Rapa Nui). They had a state-of-the-art yacht built and named it Mana. They affiliated with the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the British Museum and the Royal Geographical Society.

They arrived on Easter Island on March 29, 1914. They established two base camps, one in the area of Mataveri and the other at the statue quarry, called Rano Raraku. With the help of a talented islander known as Juan Tepano, Routledge proceeded to interview the natives and catalogue the giant statues. They excavated over 30 statues. She also visited the tribal elders in their leper colony north of Hanga Roa, and collected data on the enigmatic "script" known as "rongo rongo"; van Tilburg credits her with a primary role in assisting preservation of Rapa Nui's indigenous Polynesian culture.

During their stay, a German convoy anchored off Hanga Roa and the Germans established a signal station on the Chilean-Scottish sheep ranch on the island; World War I was going on and the island was neutral territory, but the Germans overstayed their welcome. Routledge complained sharply of this infringement on Chilean territory to the British Consul in London. Routledge also decided to mediate in the native rebellion against the sheep ranch and met a local medicine woman and visionary, Angata.

The Routledges departed the island in August, 1915. She published her findings in a popular travel book, The Mystery of Easter Island, in 1919. Most of her conclusions are accepted today.

Reference: Wikipedia

Thor Heyerdahl, 1914 - 2002

Explorer and proponent of the theory that Easter Island was settled from South America.

Thor Heyerdahl, was one of the great individualistic standard-bearers of mid-20th-century adventure. In 1947, he and his five-person crew climbed aboard Kon-Tiki, an experimental balsa raft, and swept atop the Pacific's Humboldt current from Peru to the Tuamotu islands - and into history. His achievement, Heyerdahl announced to the world, proved that New World mariners from the east might have sailed into Polynesia, contradicting the general assumption that it had been populated from the west.

Today, there is no question that Kon-Tiki demonstrated, in the words of archaeologist Glyn Daniel, the possibility - but not the actuality - of entering the Pacific from east to west on a balsa raft. The project lay at the heart of Heyerdahl's life's work - trying to prove his conviction that the cultures of the ancient world were sometimes linked by sailors who could cross oceans.

Reference: The Guardian

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