Easter Island humbugs of Paul Bahn
   Author:   Yuri Kuchinsky 
   Date: 1998/07/31
   Forums: sci.archaeology, sci.anthropology, rec.arts.books,
   soc.culture.native

   _________________________________________________________________
   
In reference to:

Paul Bahn and John Flenley, EASTER ISLAND, EARTH ISLAND,
Thames and Hudson, NY, 1992.

(Part 3)


Greetings, all,

Let's now deal with the weird confusion about the "chicken houses" on EI
perpetuated by Dr. Bahn and some others. These are of course no chicken
houses at all, but tupas, ancient mausoleums that may have been used to
house chickens in later times. (Look at the end of this article for URLs
with good illustrations.)

Tupas are some very special stone constructions that are found on Easter
Island. These are large rectangular, and sometimes round, stone towers
with tiny square entrances. Nothing like this can be found anywhere in
Polynesia. And yet,

     ... the un-Polynesian tupa is strongly reminiscent of the
     _chullpa_ often found among the pre-Inca ruins on the arid
     slopes from Lake Titicaca down to the Pacific coast. (Thor
     Heyerdahl, EASTER ISLAND: THE MYSTERY SOLVED, Random House,
     N. Y., 1989, p. 55)

Heyerdahl adds further that, in both regions, these prehistoric towers are
believed to be the remains of plundered mausoleums from an earlier period.

This is what he says further about the close similarity -- including their
indigenous names -- between these two types of construction,

     The tupa of EI resemble the chullpa in every detail, and a
     Polynesian would pronounce chullpa as tupa. (p. 166)

These words, "tupa", and "chullpa", certainly seem like they are basically
the same word. So how can Heyerdahl's critics dismiss this sort of
evidence? Well, they try...

Certainly there's no doubt that S. American chullpas are mausoleums. But
mainstream scholars seeking for a way to deny this evidence for EI -- SA
links are trying to cast some doubt on tupas being originally built as
mausoleums.

This is of course the view taken by our Dr. Paul Bahn. And also by others
of their ilk, including another mainstream stalwart, Prof. McCoy, in his
article in _The Prehistory of Polynesia_, Jesse D. Jennings, editor. --
Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press, 1979.

So they seized upon the idea that EI tupas were sometimes believed in
later historical periods to have been used to house chickens. This is not
impossible, of course. Some islanders may have wished to protect their
poultry from theft at night, especially in situations where conflict broke
out between different clans on the island. But was that the original
purpose why tupas were built? This is the big question, of course. And the
answer to this is almost certainly no.

The idea seems preposterous on the face of it. For one thing, the space
within tupas is so narrow, and access to them is so difficult, that they
obviously did not serve any utilitarian purpose. Their design alone should
be enough to put this silly idea to rest. Why would anyone in their right
mind build a chicken house with such incredibly thick stone walls, and
with such tiny space inside? But in the surrealistic world of mainstream
EI archaeology, it's anything goes...

Why would people get confused about simple things like this? Because of
their long-held biases and preconceptions perhaps?

There's also another important consideration here. The tupas are obviously
ancient constructions. But was the chicken so early on EI? This certainly
doesn't seem so.

According to Heyerdahl, who cites an archaeologist Helene Wallin, the
chicken bones were not found in old layers of EI excavations.

"[H. Wallin] ... made an important discovery that chicken bones were
present only in the uppermost layers of refuse. The expedition's
stratigraphic excavations revealed quite clearly that poultry, a
Melanesian-Polynesian type of livestock, was unknown to the original
inhabitants of EI and was introduced very late, presumably at the end of
the Middle Period. This discovery confirmed the Easter Islanders' own
account that seabird's eggs had been an important part of their
forefathers' diet until they acquired poultry." (Heyerdahl, 1989, p. 228)

This item is of course also confirmed by the information that has been
available for a long time already. And this comes from New Zealand, where
the Polynesian settlers, who arrived apparently quite late, ca. 900 ad,
and then lost touch with their homeland, still didn't have the chickens
when Europeans arrived! (If I'm wrong here, I would welcome a correction
on this point.) What this means is that chickens were probably not known
in Eastern Polynesia as well until quite late. All this basically
indicates that the chicken arrived to EI from SA, and quite late.

Perhaps the Natives were building "chicken houses" without actually having
any chickens around because they had a Psychic Premonition that the
chickens will be introduced to EI centuries hence? Just ask Dr. Bahn...

And so these professional dunces are still trying to challenge the idea
that EI tupas were tombs at all... It is certainly beyond me how can
anyone in their right mind doubt this. They certainly were. This is
confirmed from many sources.

A German expedition under the leadership of Captain Geiseler came to EI in
1882. They investigated these tupas of EI.

Here's a quote from Heyerdahl:

"[Captain Geiseler] made a sketch of one of these structures [illustration
provided on the same page]. He asked the islanders what it was, and was
told that it was the tomb of an old-time chieftain. Geiseler confirmed
this story by opening the tomb and finding human bones in the central
chamber. The Germans then opened several other similar structures, and
found human remains in all of them." (p. 97)

So how can our severely misguided mainstream scholars still continue to
perpetuate this tired old red herring that these structures were
originally "chicken houses", or else, as McCoy would have it, "dwellings"?

Typical EI chicken houses HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED ADEQUATELY anyways. They
were normally shallow pits in the ground covered with some sort of grass
roof. A lot easier to build, you know... Besides, in normal times,
chickens were allowed to run free on EI -- there were many thousands of
them on the island all over the place.

So this is where our deeply misguided Paul Bahn comes in. His confusion is
astounding. What he's trying to do, is to draw a distinction between the
tupas -- "chicken houses" (of which hundreds are known), and some other
stone buildings that he admits are similar in shape, and were, as he
admits, mausoleums.

"These structures have sometimes been confused with a very similar
rectangular form of platform which seems to have been used for the burial
of chiefs..." (p. 100)

But most other tupas, he still insists, were not used as mausoleums! And
this in spite of the fact that human skulls were found in them!!!

Here's another quote from this confused scholar:

"A further source of confusion is that human skulls have sometimes been
found in the chicken houses: these puoko-moa (fowl heads) from the royal
Miru clan were thought to have the power to increase egg yield..." (p.
101)

Source of confusion, indeed... All in the head of Paul Bahn... He uses his
own perverse "magic wand" to turn mausoleums into chicken houses, and then
complains about "all the confusion"...

There's a picture of these skulls on the preceding page. One is engraved
with a picture of a fish. The other has some kind of a strange animal
engraved on it. I don't see any chickens on these "fowl heads". What kind
of idiocy is this?

The facts of the matter are simple. There are stone-built mausoleums on
EI. There are stone-built mausoleums in SA of the same shape and size and
construction type. They have names that are very similar. Chronology is
similar. Conclusion: this is a good indication of EI-SA links. Except for
those scholars desperate enough to try to escape from reality.

        -----------------------

On p. 55 of his book, Heyerdahl gives a drawing of a tupa made in
1786 by a member of La Perouse expedition to EI. And there are more
illustrations on p. 97, a modern photo, and a drawing from 1882.

Also, there's a photo of a tupa on p. 147 of McCoy (McCoy, in _The
Prehistory of Polynesia_, Jesse D.  Jennings, editor. -- Cambridge, Mass,
Harvard University Press, 1979.).

More illustrations can be found in a booklet by A. Elena Charola, _Easter
Island: The Heritage and its Conservation_, published by the World
Monuments Fund in 1994.

        -----------------------

And now some www pages where images can be found.

There's some variation of such structures on EI, and there's considerable
variation in SA. In SA, some chullpas are built of finely crafted regular
stone blocks, like in some of the following images. But some are also
built of odd-shaped stones, just like on EI.

Good view of a tupa on EI. This one is round, but many on EI are also
rectangular:

[hotlink]

        -----------------------

Chullpas in S. America:

ANCASH:

[hotlink]

Background info:

[hotlink]

So here's a rectangular-shaped mausoleum from SA that has size and stone
construction very similar to EI tupas. A coincidence? Only the worst
hypocrite would deny that there's a close similarity in construction
techniques.

---

Funerary structures at Wilcawain near Huaraz, upper Peru. These stone huts
were built without mortar and are roofed with inclined slabs. This site
was dedicated to the cult of the dead and is believed to date around 1000
A.D.

[hotlink]

Same as above, although the construction seems much neater.

---

Regularly shaped stones:

[hotlink]

---

[hotlink] 

---

Colla chullpas:

[hotlink] 

Here's a useful quote from the above page, to cast some light on the
history of these Colla constructions in this area:

The picture above, left, is of the tallest burial tower there. Most of the
towers were said by the Spanish chroniclers to have been 'recently
finished' in the middle 1500's though most were not completed for some
reason. They were built by the Colla people, Aymara speakers who were
conquered by the Incas in the 1400's, and the towers were most likely used
as burial chambers for the nobles of that culture. The architecture of
these people is said to be more complicated than that of the Incas. While
the stone work at this site is really beautiful, it doesn't quite match
what we saw at Ollantaytambo or at Machu Picchu. The burial tower above is
about 40' high. Each tower has a small hole facing east, just large enough
for a person to crawl through, the entrance closed after burials. These
towers were made with chipping tools, it's said.

[end quote]

So there we go, folks. The mainstream archaeological excercise in denial
and avoidance still continues... These "big scholars" will bend themselves
into hoops rather than admit the great creativity and competence of Native
South Americans who were certainly capable of reaching Easter Island in
their sophisticated ocean craft. These Learned Professors are really
trying to finish off the work of the brutal Spanish Conquistadores who
destroyed this pround chapter in Native History. Now the Professors are
just trying, in a big hurry, to bury the few pieces left over from what
the Conquistadores destroyed.

Shame!

Yuri.

Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- [27]http://www.globalserve.net/~yuku

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people?
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