Abstract and Keywords
The public and scholarly fascination with Rapa Nui or Easter Island has stimulated research on this isolated island since the late nineteenth century. In the last twenty years such research has contributed greatly to knowledge of the archaeological record, as well as prehistoric agriculture, community structure, settlement patterns, and the carving and transport of roughly 1,000 anthropomorphic statues or moai. Although the popularized story of Rapa Nui is one of self-inflicted population devastation through destruction of the environment—ecocide—this research suggests that decentralized social systems, including those related to moai carving, and innovative subsistence practices within a marginal environment contributed to the ultimate survival of the Rapa Nui people.
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