Easter dating system
Instead our archaeological investigations have shown that Rapa Nui’s history is notable for its lack of violence.” Falsely accusing the islanders of killing and eating each other is bad enough. Whilst the conventional narrative blames the islanders for committing a kind of collective ecological and social suicide (hence the term ‘ecocide’) this reading of history is almost certainly perpetuating a monumental injustice.For the Easter Islanders were indeed subject to a genocide – but it did not come from within.He suggests that as the ecological crisis brought on by deforestation worsened, the islanders tried to appease their apparently angry gods by making and transporting yet more statues, creating a vicious circle of human stupidity. More recent archaeological work has now challenged almost every aspect of this conventional ‘ecocide’ narrative, most completely and damningly in a new book by the archaeologists Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo entitled ‘The Statues That Walked’.Lest we fail to spot the parallel, he writes: “I have often asked myself, “What did the Easter Islander who cut down the last palm tree say while he was doing it? Hunt and Lipo did not set out to challenge the conventional story: their initial studies were intended merely to confirm it by providing some greater archaeological detail.Perhaps the more recent studies of their history will help challenge the Hobbesian and pessimistic view that human nature necessarily tends towards destruction and violence.Resilience and sustainability are just as likely outcomes, even over the longer term.If anything, the islanders contributed to an increase in the human carrying capacity of the island over time.” This is a very different picture from the conventional one of ecocide and cannibalism.
Certainly Diamond’s reading of this seems highly partisan.The sheep converted it into a true ecological wasteland, eliminating the remaining smaller trees and causing large-scale soil erosion – for which the early Easter Islanders would once again later be blamed by latter-day environmentalists. “Thus, despite the long history of disease, population collapse, external rule, and enslavement, the Rapanui have held on and thrived.A swelling population spurred by a booming Chilean economy has brought prosperity to the island in the form of growing tourism.” Like all of us, modern Easter Islanders are inter-dependent with the rest of the world.Then in 1871, a majority of islanders left for Tahiti and Mangareva; and even in their neighboring islands of Polynesia, the Rapanui met with death in large numbers.By 1877, the native population on the island had reached its all-time recorded low of just 110.