Easter Island (Rapa Nui) with its strange statues, known as moai, remains one of the great archaeological mysteries. As with most ancient enigmas, various writers have tried to link Easter Island with either Atlantis, Mu or extraterrestrials.
I cannot subscribe to such silliness and would not normally include Easter Island in this Encyclopedia, but in recognition of the level of general interest in the subject I have included a link(a) to the serious archaeological work that continues on the island. This study is now in its fifth season and is directed by Dr. Jo Anne Van Tilburg. One aspect of the work was to demonstrate that many of the Easter Island ‘heads’ have buried bodies, often, until now, with hidden petroglyphs(t). A recent (June 2015) blog(g) has proposed that some of the markings represent tattoos.
The other great Easter Island mystery is the rongorongo script found there. All attempts to decipher it have failed. An extensive article by Jacob Mikanowski offering insights into the history of the island and its script and the many efforts to decode it is available online(q) . David Pratt has also compared rongorongo with ancient Chinese and Indus Valley scripts(r) . Pratt has written a number of papers on various aspects of Easter Island(s).
A new suggestion has recently emerged linking Easter Island and the ongoing discoveries at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey(b). This dates back to early 2010 and has now been given greater prominence in Robert Schoch’s recent book, Forgotten Civilization. On a lighter note, when Robert Schoch, suggested a link between Göbekli Tepe and Eastern Island(m), in spite of the eleven millennia time difference, it was no surprise that Jason Colavito scornfully dismissed the idea(n).
Pre-Colonial contacts between Easter Island and South America have recently been supported by DNA evidence(f). This would appear to be contradicted by a 2017 study by a team from the University of California -Santa Cruz, which appears to rule out pre-European contact with South Americans! Details are published in the October 12th edition of Current Biology.(p)
Another Easter Island mystery(i) is its rongorongo script, which like the Phaistos Disk has produced a number of ‘claims’ of successful decipherment(c)(d).
The Milwaukee Journal of June 17th 1923 had a headline that announced the disappearance of Easter Island(e), proving that you really can’t believe everything you read! Coincidentally 1923 also gave us an early attempt(h) to link Easter Island with Atlantis.
For a long time it has been thought that warfare had wiped out much of its early population. This has now been debunked by a new study, led by Binghamton University anthropology professor Carl Lipo and published in the Feb. 2016 edition of the journal Antiquity(j). Shortly afterwards, a further study suggested that a more complex explanation for the early social collapse on the island has been put forward by Dr. Valentí Rull, who is a senior researcher of the Spanish National Research Council in Barcelona(k).
A further report(o) from Lipo highlighted further the complexity underlying the societal disintegration that took place on the island. Lipo outlined the commonly held explanation as follows; “One of the resources that they supposedly used up was trees that were growing on the island. Those trees provided canoes and, as a result of the lack of canoes, they could no longer fish. So they started to rely more and more on land food. As they relied on land food, productivity went down because of soil erosion, which led to crop failures…Painting the picture of this sort of catastrophe. That’s the traditional narrative.” Lipo’s studies has employed new technologies that have disproved these popular ideas and obviously forced a radical rethink.
There is a brief Smithsonian video clip available(l) which deals with the cutting and transportation of the moai.
*The latest moai theory has come from a team of researchers, led by Carl Lipo, from New York’s Binghampton University, who have concluded that the statues were placed at location where potable water was available(u). To me it seems an excessively elaborate way of marking locations.*
(e) http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19230617&id=9f1EAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XyEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5420,3683626 (inaccessible Sept. 2016)
(m) http://www.robertschoch.com/articles/schochgobeklitepenewdawnsept2010.pdf (offline Sept. 2017) See Sept/Oct 2010 edition of New Dawn Magazine (Issue 122)
Plate Tectonics is the name given to the widely accepted geological theory that explains the observable fact of continental drift. Abraham Ortelius, a 16th century cartographer was one of the first to suggest that Africa, Europe and the Americas had at one time been joined together. In the 17th century Sir Francis Bacon is claimed to have been similarly struck by the complementary profiles of South America and Africa, but this, according to G.L. Herries Davies, is an exaggeration of what Bacon actually wrote(j). Alexander von Humboldt writing at the end of the 18th century, also commented that the ”lands bordering the Atlantic Ocean had once been joined.” Decades later Snider-Pellegrini expressed similar ideas that eventually led to the theories of ‘continental drift’ and plate tectonics.
In 1912, Alfred Wegener and Frank Taylor first outlined the concept of continental drift, which proposed that the surface of the Earth is in motion albeit very slowly. At first the idea was considered preposterous by the scientific community but gradually gained acceptance as evidence in its favour accumulated. In the early 1960’s the theory of ‘sea-floor spreading’ was developed and gradually the idea that the Earth’s surface consists of a number of plates that move relative to each other gained acceptance and evolved into the theory of plate tectonics that we have today. However, there are some anomalies that the present theory does not explain so that further revision is probably required.
These anomalies together with the geographical match between the two continents led to the formulation of the Expanding Earth Hypothesis(b).
When sea-floor spreading was identified in the Atlantic, some writers investigated where it might fit into the drama of Atlantis. It is not surprising that plate tectonics have been claimed by some, such as Frank Joseph, to support the existence of Atlantis, while others, including sceptic Paul Jordan, maintain that it makes the existence of Atlantis in the Atlantic an impossibility.
A further sceptical view of Atlantis in the Atlantic, by Benjamin Radford, claims(k) that “plate tectonics demonstrate that Atlantis is impossible; as the continents have drifted, the seafloor has spread over time, not contracted. There would simply be no place for Atlantis to sink into. As Ken Feder notes, ‘The geology is clear; there could have been no large land surface that then sank in the area where Plato places Atlantis. Together, modern archaeology and geology provide an unambiguous verdict: There was no Atlantic continent; there was no great civilization called Atlantis.'” This, of course, is perfectly true, except that Plato placed Atlantis in the Atlantic Sea, which many believe was a reference to the Western Mediterranean!
An interesting website on the subject of the problems associated with the theory of plate tectonics by David Pratt is worth a read(a)(d). Equally critical is the opening chapter of Thomas J. Krupa’s book Biblical Flood, Noah’s Ark and the Star of David. Sustained opposition to the theory has found expression in the NCGT Journal(e) since 1996.
Marvin Herndon has proposed a new theory, which he has entitled ‘Whole-Earth Decompression Dynamics’; a subtle combination of plate tectonics and the Expanded Earth Hypothesis(g). The idea of subduction is also challenged by the New Pangaea Theory(h).
P.P. Flambas, author of Plato’s Caribbean Atlantis in which he has proposed a modification to the current theory of PT, which he has called the ‘Hydraulic Hypothesis’ to explain shortcomings in accepted PT theory and support his Atlantis location.
A July 2016 report was published on the rate of tectonic movement, estimated to be comparable to the speed of fingernail growth(f).
Evidence of plate tectonics has now been identified on Mars(c)!
*(b) http://www.grisda.org/origins/15053.htm (link broken Oct 2018)