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Earth’s Mysterious Places. Easter Island Stonehenge Geoglyphs in Nazca Desert, Peru. Easter Island. History.

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earth s mysterious places

Earth’s Mysterious Places

Easter Island

Stonehenge

Geoglyphs in Nazca Desert, Peru

history
History

Easter Island's human history began with the settlement of the island by Polynesians, who are likely to have arrived from the islands of Mangareva or Pitcairn to the west. The history of Easter Island can be related with the aid of a reconstructed king list of Easter Island, complete with events and approximate dates since 400. These Polynesian settlers brought bananas, taro, sweet potato, sugarcane, and paper mulberry, as well as chickens. The island at one time supported a relatively advanced and complex civilization. The European discovery of the island, by the Dutch navigator Jakob Roggeveen, occurred in 1722 on Easter Day. Roggeveen found about 2,000-3,000 inhabitants on the island, but it appears that there were as many as 10,000-15,000 of them in the 16th and 17th centuries. The civilization of Easter Island had degenerated drastically during the 100 years before the arrival of the Dutch, owing to the overpopulation, deforestation and exploitation of the extremely isolated island with its limited natural resources. However, by the mid-19th century the population had recovered to about 4,000 inhabitants. Then in a mere 20 years, deportation to Peru and Chile and diseases brought by Westerners almost exterminated the whole population, with only 111 inhabitants left on the island in 1877. The island was annexed by Chile in 1888 (by Policarpo Toro). The native Rapanui have gradually recovered from their low of 111 inhabitants.

Note that the name "Rapa Nui" is not the Rapanui's original name for the island. It was coined by labour immigrants from the original Rapa in the Bass Islands who likened it to their home island. The Rapanui name of Rapa Nui is Te pito o te henua ("Navel of the World") due to its isolation, but this too seems to be derived from another location, possibly a Marquesan landmark.

Recent events have shown a tremendous increase of tourism on the island, coupled with a large inflow of people from mainland Chile, threatening to alter the Polynesian identity of the island. The possession of the land has created political tensions in the past 20 years, with part of the native Rapanui opposed to private property and in favor of the traditional communal property of the land. (See Demography below.)

deforestation and decline
Deforestation and Decline

Modern Easter Island has few trees. The island once possessed a forest of palms, but it is thought that the native Easter Islanders completely deforested the island in the process of erecting their statues, as well as constructing fishing boats and buildings. There is evidence that the disappearance of the island's trees coincided with the collapse of the Easter Island civilization. Midden contents from that time period show a sudden drop in quantity of fish and bird bones as the islanders lost the means to construct fishing vessels and the birds lost their nesting sites. Chickens and rats became leading items of diet. There is also some evidence of cannibalism, from human remains.

The small surviving population of Easter Island eventually developed new traditions to allot the few remaining resources. In the cult of the birdman (manutara), a competition was established in which every year a representative of each tribe, chosen by the leaders, would dive into the sea and swim across to Motu Nui, a nearby islet, to search for the first egg laid by a Sooty Tern during the season. The first swimmer to return with an egg would secure control of the island's resources for his tribe for the rest of the year. This tradition was still in existence at the time of first contact by Europeans

the moai
The Moai

Moai in Hanga Roa, with Chilean Navy training ship Buque Escuela Esmeralda cruising behind

A Moai

The large stone statues, or moai, for which Easter Island is world famous were carved at a later time than was initially thought. Archeologists now estimate that they were carved between 1600 and 1730, the last one being carved around the time when Jakob Roggeveen discovered the island. There are more than 600 large monolithic stone statues, called moai, on the island. Although often identified as "heads", the statues actually have complete torsos; many moai, however, have become buried up to their necks. Most were carved out of the rock at Rano Raraku. The quarry there seems to have been abandoned abruptly, with half-carved statues left in the rock. The most common theory is that the statues were carved by the Polynesian inhabitants (Rapanui) at a time when the island was largely planted with trees and resources were plentiful, supporting a population of 10,000-15,000 native Rapanui. The majority of the statues were still standing when Jakob Roggeveen arrived in 1722. Captain James Cook also saw many standing statues when he landed on the island in 1774. By the 19th century, all the statues had been toppled in internecine wars. See the moai page for a more extensive

the moai1
The Moai

Moai in Hanga Roa, with Chilean Navy training ship Buque Escuela Esmeralda cruising behind

demography
Demography

Population at the 2002 census was 3,791 inhabitants. The figure is up from 1,936 inhabitants in 1982. This tremendous increase in population is due mainly to the arrival of people of European descent from the mainland of Chile. Consequently, the island is losing its native Polynesian identity. In 1982 around 70% of the population were Rapanui (the native Polynesian inhabitants). At the 2002 census however, Rapanui were only 60% of the population of Easter Island. Chileans of European descent were 39% of the population, and the remaining 1% were Native American from mainland Chile. Nearly all of the population live in the town of Hanga Roa.

Rapanui have also migrated out of the island. At the 2002 census there were 2,269 Rapanui living in Easter Island, while 2,378 Rapanui lived in the mainland of Chile (half of them in the metropolitan area of Santiago).

Population density on Easter Island is only 23 inhabitants per km² (60 inh. per sq. miles), much lower than in the heyday of statues' building (17th century) when there were between 10,000 and 15,000 native Rapanui on the island. Population had already declined to only 2,000-3,000 inhabitants before the arrival of Europeans. In the 19th century, disease due to contacts with Europeans, as well as deportation of 2,000 Rapanui to work as slaves in Peru, and the forced departure of the remaining Rapanui to Chile, carried the population of Easter Island to the all time low of 111 inhabitants in 1877. Out of these 111 Rapanui, only 36 had descendants, and they are the ancestors of all the 2,269 Rapanui currently living on the island.

slide16

The Moai are seen all over the island, and in different shapes, sizes, and stages of completion. Many Moaiare left unfinished at the quarry site. No one is sure yet as to what purposes did the Moai served, but outside scholarly research together with accumulated local knowledge, shows evidence that the Moai were carved by the ancestors of the present inhabitants.

long ears vs short ears
Long Ears vs. Short Ears

Ron Fisher in his work Easter Island Brooding Sentinels of Stone, mentions as one explanation for the statues that "two classes of people, the-so-called Long Ears and Short Ears, lived on the island. The Short Ears were enslaved by the Long Ears, who forced the Short Ears to carve the Moai. After many generations and during a rebellion, the Short Ears surprised the Long Ears killing them all, which explains the abrupt end of the statue-carving.

slide19

Many of the were buried up to their shoulders and thereby appearing as disembodied heads.

All of the Moai were toppled in tribal wars about 250 years ago.

Many have recently been rebuilt - starting in the 1950's.

slide20
The Moai were excavated for the first time by Thor Heyerdahl in the 1950's and were photographed at that time.
rongorongo
RONGORONGO

Rongo-rongo is the hieroglyphic script of Easter Island. It has remained a mystery since its discovery. For over a hundred years, controversy has raged over the meaning and source of these enigmatic characters.

3 geoglyphs in the nazca desert
3. Geoglyphs in the Nazca Desert

Located between Paracas and Nazca, Ica is a lush agricultural oasis surrounded by desert sands. It sits at the center of wine and pisco (brandy) production in Peru, Today enormous geoglyph figures of animals, birds and geometric figures remain etched in the desert, a testimony to this remarkable culture.

the nazca desert is the giant draft board
The Nazca desert is the giant draft board

Alla Belokon suggests that the Nazca lines represent our Solar system planets as crystal structure nodes, and were built by a flow of directed energy of unknown nature from the air.

The Nazca desert square is about 500 km2. Its soil surface is covered all over with a network of peculiar gravings in the form of figures which are shallow but large in size. These figures cannot be viewed either from the ground or from the surrounding low hills. They number nearly 13,000 lines, 100 spirals, more than 700 geometric areas (the geoglyphs) in the form of triangles and trapezia. At first the each investigator attention is attracted the drawings of animals (a monkey, a dog, a whale, some fishes and a number of birds). There are a flower and tree also. The meaningful drawings number about thirty. Therefor this type drawings make only 0.2% of the total number of figures. The rest of figures (98.8%) are the geometrical figures(called geoglyphs). Its are: the lines that run rectilinearly for the distance of up to 10 km and the triangles, rectangles, and, more often, trapezoidal geoglyphs with rectilinear stone-formed edges (The biggest rectangles has the side sizes about 80x780 m). Innumerable zigzags and sinusoids forming the so-called “decoration”, can be encountered among these figures. Also there are more then ten lines centers on the desert. Its have represented as the points from which a few lines are outcoming to different directions.

the nazca geoglyphs are the markings of the drawing ray
The Nazca geoglyphs are the "markings" ofThe Drawing Ray"

At first view the all geoglyphs are looked as the chaos and the drawings are worthy to our attention only. However as the drawings so the geoglyphs fascinate us. What reason is for that? Any creation by Unknown Wisdom comprises certain intellectual capabilities indicating the level of its development and technological means available!During more than twenty years I was forced to prove that it is impossible to create the drawings by hand and don't to damage the desert surface. Besides, the desert of Nazca is only one element of the phenomenon. Ground drawings similar in style are encountered in the middle part of the Andes all along the Pacific Ocean coast in South America (1500 km). Thus they should in no way be attributed to one local Indian culture such as the Nazca culture. According to my estimates, made on the basis of the measures obtained by G. Hawkins’s expedition, more than 100, 000 man-years would have been required to construct by hand the figures on the desert of Nazca.

hummingbird
Hummingbird

The spectacular Lineas de Nazca are giant drawings of animals and geometric figures in the desert sands of Pampa de San José near Nazca. Believed to be created around 300-700 BC, these figures aren't easily seen from the ground. If you climb the observation tower erected by the Pan American highway just north of Nazca you'll see only a few of them.

slide45

The zigzag-shaped and sinusoidal lines forming a single complex with the drawing of the monkey, covers the area of 20.000 square meters. One more interesting element is worth noting: the monkey's forelegs have a different number of fingers: the right one - five, while the left one - only four. The same feature is characteristic of another figure which received an adequate name: "Figure with nine fingers". Such insistent repetition ciold not be just a sort of coincidence.

tree and hands with 9 fingers
Tree and Hands with 9 Fingers

Drawing of  "The tree" with a zigzag line. There is an illustration in point as far as the of constructing a drawing is concerned: the line runs rfom the vertex of a small triangle, encircles it, then makes a few zigzags with an amplitude of over 500 m (while gradually getting thinner), form a figure of a "tre" and, at last, reaches a large rectangle. Its total length is 5 km. Why have such complicated way been used if it was forming by hands? It is the absurdity. But it became clear if the method of "the grawing ray" was used. The zigzag line was need for decrease of radiation power and for recieve a slim line forming the image.

the spider
The Spider

The drawing of a spider is 46 m long.