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Archaeology & History

Easter Island collapse theory challenged

By T.K. Randall
January 10, 2015 · Comment icon 65 comments

The island's inhabitants created dozens of huge statues. Image Credit: CC BY 2.5 Honey Hooper
A new study has called in to question conventional theories about the disappearance of the islanders.
A small land mass of only 60 square miles, Easter Island has remained something of an enigma for years. Its army of strange stone heads and the unexplained disappearance of its inhabitants are mysteries that continue to draw both intrigue and puzzlement.

For a long time it was thought that the people of Easter Island had been in steady decline long before Europeans arrived there in 1722 and that their overuse of the island's natural resources had been the biggest contributing factor in their eventual demise.
Now however researchers have published a new paper providing evidence that the depletion of resources was unlikely to have been the cause of the islanders' disappearance.

The study, which was led by Christopher M. Stevenson of Virginia Commonwealth University, suggests that while the inhabitants did see a slight reduction in numbers prior to European contact it was not likely to have been indicative of mass starvation and population collapse.

Instead it appears to have been contact with the Europeans, who brought diseases such as smallpox and syphilis, that was almost entirely responsible for their eventual disappearance.

Source: Washington Post | Comments (65)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #56 Posted by Calibeliever 10 years ago
Guns, germs and steel again. 'merica!
Comment icon #57 Posted by Sir Wearer of Hats 10 years ago
'merica! BRITANNIA! actually
Comment icon #58 Posted by Starhunter 10 years ago
BRITANNIA! actually Let's not forget the Spanish.
Comment icon #59 Posted by travelnjones 10 years ago
"But isn't it possible" the people who built the statues on Easter Island were the same that built Stone Henge? The arches are actually the statues legs and they form up like stone contructicons. This allows them to ride the sphinx. It is through that means they constructed the vile vertices and ley lines.
Comment icon #60 Posted by Sir Wearer of Hats 10 years ago
"But isn't it possible" the people who built the statues on Easter Island were the same that built Stone Henge? The arches are actually the statues legs and they form up like stone contructicons. This allows them to ride the sphinx. It is through that means they constructed the vile vertices and ley lines. Of course it's possible. It's also possible all the statutes were based on the eleventh Doctor and the pyramids were the landing site for spaceships and Stonehenge the doorway to Tir Na Dandanan.
Comment icon #61 Posted by Ozfactor 10 years ago
Has anyone been watching Human Universe , with the marvellous Professor Brian Cox ? The last episode had a short section on Easter Island and the chance encounter with a Dutch ship . By pure chance, the Dutch ship came across Easter Island and it was inhabited by a cultured people , yet 50 years later , another ship came to Easter Island and the culture had collapsed . ~ I may have certain details wrong , just going by my memory that fails me sometimes ~
Comment icon #62 Posted by Sir Wearer of Hats 10 years ago
Has anyone been watching Human Universe , with the marvellous Professor Brian Cox ? The last episode had a short section on Easter Island and the chance encounter with a Dutch ship . By pure chance, the Dutch ship came across Easter Island and it was inhabited by a cultured people , yet 50 years later , another ship came to Easter Island and the culture had collapsed . ~ I may have certain details wrong , just going by my memory that fails me sometimes ~ Which would be a massive tick in the "it were disease what did for them" column.
Comment icon #63 Posted by Ozfactor 10 years ago
Which would be a massive tick in the "it were disease what did for them" column. It must have been a hugh contributing factor , an isolated culture being introduced to a world wide culture with magical objects and a floating kingdom , mind blowing stuff .and of course , the viral epidemic that followed .
Comment icon #64 Posted by Thorvir Hrothgaard 10 years ago
"But isn't it possible" the people who built the statues on Easter Island were the same that built Stone Henge? The arches are actually the statues legs and they form up like stone contructicons. This allows them to ride the sphinx. It is through that means they constructed the vile vertices and ley lines. I believe you are on to something:
Comment icon #65 Posted by SolarPlexus 10 years ago
Thought that deforestation killed them


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