Subject: Easter Island S. American links From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Yuri Kuchinsky) Date: 20 Oct 1997 21:12:41 GMT Message-ID: <email@example.com> Organization: @trends.ca Newsgroups: sci.archaeology,sci.anthropology,alt.native,soc.history Easter Island & South America ============== by Yuri Kuchinsky The more I deal with the current problems in Easter Island history, the more it is obvious to me that this whole field is in a rather unhealthy state currently. It seems that there's the "Heyerdahl camp", and then there's the mainstream. The mainstream mistrusts and tries to do its best to marginalize the work of Heyerdahl, and also of the archaeologists who excavated as part of the excavations he organized. Of course Heyerdahl was a pioneer in modern archaeology of EI, and he, and the highly respected archaeologists who were working with him, have done a great amount of work there, almost all of it published in great detail. Also, he has done a great amount of ethnohistorical work there. It needs to be said that Thor Heyerdahl is highly respected by the native Easter Islanders, who actually made him an Honourable Chieftain of Easter Island in 1987. The mainstream Easter Island history establishment mostly doesn't read the published research associated with Heyerdahl, and doesn't even try to deal with the evidence presented there. The result is a field of study that seems to be possessed of a very strange split personality. The two camps don't even seem to talk the same language, but instead branch off in different directions. The historical truth suffers as a result, certainly. So I hope that this article can begin to address this split. Jo Anne Van Tilburg, the author of EASTER ISLAND, British Museum Press, 1994, seems like a fine representative of the mainstream. And here is a very revealing quote from her book. Since the nineteenth century a prehistoric connection between Rapa Nui and S. America has occasionally been suggested but never demonstrated. Some forty years ago, this idea found a dramatic and outspoken advocate in Thor Heyerdahl. The movement of pre-Columbian people from the coast of S. America into the Polynesian geographic sphere is extremely plausible when one considers, as Heyerdahl did, the east to west trade wind pattern. As of this writing however, no reliable archaeological, linguistic, or biological data on the mainland, in East Polynesia or on Rapa Nui support such an east to west population movement. (p. 46) She herself says: "The movement of pre-Columbian people from the coast of S. America into the Polynesian geographic sphere is extremely plausible..." But "no reliable data" to support it? I beg to differ. So let's look at this "unreliable data" that she seems mostly to overlook in her publication... In this article I will try to summarize some of the research published in Thor Heyerdahl, EASTER ISLAND: THE MYSTERY SOLVED, Random House, N. Y., 1989. To me, this research leaves virtually no doubt about the strong links between EI and the S. American mainland at the earliest periods of EI history. I would like to hear if and where I may be wrong in this assessment. Further on, I will use as reference the work of French ethnologist Alfred Metraux, who arrived to the EI in 1934, and published his research in his ETHNOLOGY OF EASTER ISLAND, 1940. Metraux firmly believed that Easter Islanders originated in Polynesia proper. No other ethnologist has made such a meticulous survey of all Easter Island cultural traits in a deliberate attempt to trace them back to some area in Polynesia. (Heyerdahl, p. 163) So his views, which provided the basis for all further studies, and which were key in the formulation of the current mainstream opinion, are quite relevant. We can begin with - THE EARLIEST EASTER ISLAND DWELLINGS Let's look at the remains of the houses of early Easter Islanders. Earliest dwellings on the EI were generally of the types unknown in Polynesia. There were 3 types of them: 1. Very special long and narrow canoe-type houses. This type of a house is unique in the world. It looks most of all like a giant overturned canoe. These houses were first described in detail in 1786 by the French expedition under the leadership of La Perouse. One such house was about 100 meters long, and could hold as many as 200 people! But its entrance was so low and narrow that one had to wiggle to get into it. Nothing like that could be found in the rest of Polynesia. According to Heyerdahl, Metraux admitted that a very special funnel-like door of such a house is "unparalleled in Polynesia". (p. 166) 2. All-stone houses with thick masonry walls rising to an arched roof. Metraux found nothing in Polynesia that could have inspired the building of such corbel-vaulted stone houses as those found in the ceremonial village of Orongo. (p. 166) 3. Underground dwellings, invisible from ground level except for the square entrance. Heyerdahl summarizes about all of these 3 types of houses, None of them were of Polynesian design. (p. 54) While the first type of houses, the canoe-like type, is quite unique, the stone houses, OTOH, are quite revealing. Stone buildings were totally alien to Polynesian culture, though they were characteristic of pre-Inca settlements on the nearest part of the mainland. (p. 54) And turning again to the nearest shore to the east, we find that low, circular walls -- the remains of stone houses -- both alone and built together in continuous clusters just as on EI, are the most typical archaeological feature in the desert areas between Lake Titicaca and the Pacific coast. (p. 164) There are neither boat-shaped houses, stone houses, nor subterranean dwellings in Polynesia, and the presence of three distinct non-Polynesian house forms calls for a reasonable explanation. Reed houses, stone houses, and underground dwellings occur on the timberless Pacific slopes of S. America... (p. 55) - ROUND STONE TOWERS Let's look at these next. Easter Island also features another very special stone constructions: tupas. These are large round stone towers with 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. In both regions, these prehistoric towers are presumably the remains of plundered mausoleums from an earlier period. (p. 55) The tupa of EI resemble the chullpa in every detail, and a Polynesian would pronounce chullpa as tupa. (p. 166) For his part, Metraux was not able to explain either the purpose or the derivation of the EI tupa in any satisfactory way. These words, "tupa", and "chullpa", certainly seem like they are basically the same word. How can this sort of evidence be disregarded or dismissed? Somewhere along the line, a sort of an urban myth emerged that tupas were in fact ...remains of ancient "chicken coops". This is still the view that the mainstream EI history establishment subscribes to. Nothing could be more preposterous. 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. - PAENGA STONES Old "paenga" stones on Easter Island, large flat rectangular stone blocks with characteristic holes in them, come from early periods of human occupation. Nothing like this is known elsewhere in Polynesia. And yet, Excavations of the pre-Inca image platforms at Tiahuanaco in what is now Bolivia has uncovered stones remarkably like the paenga of EI. [Illustration is given on p. 57 of extremely similar large stone blocks in the two places, the S. American, and the EI.] - GIANT STONE STATUES Giant stone statues are found in S. America, but not in Polynesia. (p. 89) Giant statues of human shapes have been left by unknown sculptors all down the chain of the Andes from San Augustin in Colombia to Tiahuanaco in Bolivia, and reappear on the nearest habitable islands in the ocean: Easter Island, the Marquesas, and Raivaevae. (p. 156) On p. 156 two photos of giant stone statues are given. One from the Marquesas Islands, and the other one from San Augustin in Colombia. They are very similar. All the clues -- chronological, typological and geographical -- suggest that the inspiration for the Marquesas statues came from the tropical regions of Colombia, while those of EI are in all respects more akin to the art of Tiahuanaco in more southerly latitudes. (p. 157) - WEEPING EYES FIGURES This is a special type of EI iconography. In 1883 Capt. Geiseler published his account of his visit to EI. He was the first to illustrate the characteristic "weeping eye" ornament from the religious paintings in the stone houses of Orongo. It later turned out that this stylized motif was very widespread on EI, though totally unknown in the rest of Oceania. It was, on the other hand, common in many parts of the Americas, and was specially characteristic of the pre-Inca cultural centre of Tiahuanaco and regions directly influenced by that area. (p. 98) [Dr. E. N. Ferdon] was the first to point out the striking parallel [of the weeping-eye figures] to the religious art of Tiahuanaco, where the weeping eye symbolizes rain from the sun-god. Wherever this motif is found on the pre-Inca coast of the mainland, it is interpreted as indicative of influence from Tiahuanaco. Why not when it is found on EI? (p. 165) Good illustrations of these "weeping eye figures" are given in the book. - STONE FISHHOOKS Stone fishhooks of EI are very similar to those in the Americas. Fishhooks of stone are foreign to Polynesian culture, but have occasionally been found along the American Pacific coast from northern Chile to California. (p. 114) An example is illustrated on p. 114. - SMALL STONE STATUES Small stone statues, similar to the ones from EI are found in the area of Lake Titicaca. Two full-length human figures carved in high relief on stones were also among the Gana expedition's finds. One is of a man with goatee and topknot. The other represents a woman with long ears... (p. 118) A comparative study has failed to demonstrate the existence of similar stone sculptures elsewhere in Polynesia, but some striking parallels are to be found in the area round Lake Titicaca. (p. 119) Illustrations are given in the book. - POINTED BONE NEEDLES AND THE ART OF SEWING Pointed bone needles perforated near the blunt end to hold thread are the most common artifact to be found on EI after toke and mataa. Outside of New Zealand, sewing was not a Polynesian practice... (p. 169) A quote from Metraux follows: "Easter Island is the only place in Polynesia where strips were felted together by sewing. Elsewhere in eastern Polynesia the strips were felted together, in western Polynesia they were pasted." Heyerdahl continues, Again, no links to Polynesia. Yet bone needles, indistinguishable from those found on EI, are frequently found in the prehistoric middens of Ilo on the south coast below Lake Titicaca. Again Easter Island sides with Peru. (p. 169) - LARGE KNEELING STONE STATUES The rectanguloid pillar statue had its only counterpart in S. America and not on any other island in the Pacific. Kneeling statues were among the most typical monuments of pre-Inca time. ... It was not only the kneeling attitude with hands on knees that matched the new find on Easter Island, but also the facial expression, the characteristic shape of the eyes, mouth, and the goatee. (p. 199) Also, such statues in S. America and on EI both have another peculiar and essential feature: the clearly marked ribs. -=-=-=-=-=- More such little known data is available in Heyerdahl's book. So anyone interested should read it to get all the details. This is an incredible amount of solid evidence already. Most if not all of it is completely omitted by our dear Prof. Jo Anne Van Tilburg in her rather lavish British Museum publication. No wonder she somehow missed the "reliable data" that is not in accord with her opinion. Questions really do arise here about both her methodology and her sincerity. Both seem notably deficient. Nevertheless, there's much more evidence to prove the same thing. Other clear and obvious cultural similarities link EI with S. America. But these are better known generally, and have already been considered in this forum, so I will list them here only for reference. Much more can be said about each of the following, and perhaps I will in the future. - MEGALITHIC STONE WALLS In 1987, we discovered a megalithic wall of finely hewn and perfectly fitted blocks during our excavations on the landward side of Ahu Naunau. This discovery demolished the popular theory that such walls had appeared at a late stage on EI... This buried wall was clearly older than the Middle Period walls visible above ground. Nothing like it has been found on a single island in the whole of Polynesia, but it is typical of the megalithic walls of S. America. (p. 233). This is new and important evidence published by Heyerdahl in this book. This evidence was unknown at the time of his previous publications. - TOTORA BUNDLES Totora bundles were used on EI in exactly the same way as they are used on the coast of Peru. (p. 20) - LEGENDS OF EASTER ISLANDERS Dr. Walter Knoche arrived to the EI in 1911, and he tried his best to collect the ancestral traditions of the Easter Islanders at that time. He ... interviewed the two old men in the presence of sixty or seventy other islanders, all of whom took an interested part in the procedure. As a result, Knoche was able to obtain unanimous agreement from the crowd on a number of tribal memories... (p. 122) These tradition obtained at that time, and at other times previously indicate that To put it plainly: the Easter Islanders had told us that the first people to settle their own island had come from what we call S. America. There was no other land to the east. And the Short-ears, coming later from the west, would of necessity have been Polynesians. This is what the old Easter Islanders originally told us... (p. 127) Nobody lengthened their earlobes in Polynesia, while Peru was ruled by Long-ears. (p. 127) - WOODEN RONGORONGO TABLETS ... [Metraux] concluded: "The main difficulty in solving the problem of the tablets lies in the lack of any convincing parallel in Polynesia." (p. 167) Generally, the rongorongo certainly demands much more space for consideration. I already consulted the recent literature published about this, and, I must say, this in a truly fascinating puzzle. Much confusion on this subject, and often even plenty of plain silliness, abounds in the mainstream publications. - BIRD CULT RITUAL ... [Metraux] finds: 'The complex of the bird cult ... has no parallel in the rest of Polynesia." (p. 167) [Metraux:] "The most striking feature of Easter Island religion is the unimportance of the great gods and heroes of other Polynesian religions." (p. 167) Much, much more can be said about this. This is perhaps the most obvious mythological and cultural link with S. America. The iconography is _almost exactly parallel_ in both places, but you would not get even a hint of this if you read only Prof. Jo Anne Van Tilburg's tendentious publication. - DOUBLE-BLADED PADDLES (of two types: "rapa", and "ao") Paddles with a blade at either end are unknown in Polynesia. (p. 167) There are plenty of them in S. America. Much more on this can be said, or course... And also, plenty of info on the last couple of items exists on the Web already. Good illustrations are also available. Check out, for example, the cite I already mentioned previously: http://www.media.uio.no/kon-tiki/tucume/modus_vivendi.html This is the Kon Tiki Museum website. So here we are, ladies and gentlemen. The "reliable data" that Prof. Jo Anne Van Tilburg supposedly sought, but not too diligently, is all published and awaits honest scholars who are really interested in the truth about Easter Island history, and not in the propagandistic pabulum of the obviously Eurocentric academic hacks whose clear intention is to minimize the achievements of Native South Americans who were excellent shipbuilders and sailors many centuries before Columbus and who almost without doubt came to the Easter Island at the earliest periods of human settlement there. Regards, Yuri. =O= Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto =O= --- a webpage like any other... http://www.io.org/~yuku --- We found a large number of books in these characters and, as they contained nothing in which there were not to be seen superstition and lies of the devil, we burned them all, which they regretted to an amazing degree === Bishop Diego de Landa on his dealings with the MayansClick here to go one level up in the directory.