Easter Island and Polynesia

Links With South America.

articles by Yuri Kuchinsky posted and discussed in sci.archaeology newsgroup

Most of us have heard about the Easter Island. It is the island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that is located about half-way between South America and Polynesia, and that features those striking and unusual "Heads". (Well, actually most of them are not really "Heads", but full-bodied statues that were partially buried in the earth.)

I'm adding in Dec '98 a long article where I analyse the latest debates among Polynesianists about all these subjects. This article is about all the current Polynesian controversies.

Some important changes needed to be made on this page in Aug '98 because of the latest discussions and additional information that came to light. The old focus was too narrow. Previously, I was trying to show that EI had strong links with South America. Of course, still, these links are not in doubt. Not at all. But my previous focus on trying to show that EI was culturally very different from other islands in Polynesia was not really justified. I've received some criticism from competent scholars about this, and hence the changes.

So, in fact, my thesis will be broader now. Not only strong South American influence was felt in ancient times on EI, but it was also felt in many other places in Polynesia! Newer files explain all this. Some of the older files still need some changes to reflect the new focus. Some problems were found with some of the things Heyerdahl said as quoted in these older files. But this certainly doesn't mean Heyerdahl was wrong overall. Quite to the contrary.

In this section, you will find botanical information about NATIVE AMERICAN PLANTS that were brought in ancient times from America to various places around the Pacific. For some mysterious reason, almost all of this information still remains a Deep Dark Secret for professional Polynesianists (and Americanists), although it's been widely published by Heyerdahl for many decades already.

Here are the long lists of these plants . 36 items altogether, believe it or not!

Here this important botanical information is analysed in more detail. I include in this long file the older version of these lists, as well as the updated information. Also critiques by Ross Clark are included. All this indicats that South American influence reached out to Easter Island and also to the rest of Polynesia.

This adds to the previous post. Pineapple and papaya.

The following botanical information mostly relates specifically to Easter Island.

These files were added in Aug '98.

The older files follow. Some information in them can now be considered somewhat problematic.

Easter Island provides perhaps the clearest evidence that ancient Americans were very competent sailors and shipbuilders. And Thor Heyerdahl has created this area of research almost singlehandedly.

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