Ronald A. Reis
(Chelsea House Pub (Library), Nov. 1, 2011)
Easter Island is a true land of mystery. One of the most remotely inhabited places on Earth, this 64-square-mile speck in the South Pacific is more than 1,000 miles from anywhere else, yet Polynesian voyagers managed to settle Easter Island a thousand years ago. No one knows why the Moai, nearly a thousand megalithic volcanic statues, were carved, transported, and erected--or why they were all found facedown by European explorers. In addition, did a Stone Age population of less than 10,000 actually deforest the land, causing environmental devastation? There were as many as 16 million Chilean palms covering 70 percent of the island when the settlers first appeared, but Westerners in the early 18th century were astonished by the total absence of trees. Furthermore, the islanders adopted a new cult based on the worship of birds and in the process, annually elected a "sacred birdman" in a competition that may have been the most dangerous of its kind anywhere in the world. Though the island is one of the most studied and probed places on the planet, Easter Island remains one of the most mysterious places on the planet. Read in this new title about this fascinating place.