This volcanic flyspeck is arguably the most remote inhabited spot on the planet — marooned in the South Pacific 1,200 miles from its nearest neighbor, Pitcairn Island, and 2,300 miles from Chile, which calls the shots. It's also one of the strangest.The sun rises and sets unnaturally late because clocks have been altered to better sync with the distant mainland. The tiny, 64-square-mile island, which locals call Rapa Nui (Big Island in the native tongue), was claimed by Chile in 1888, but the native islanders are ofMaori descent and identify themselves as Polynesians, not Latinos.About 2,000 horses, or about one for every two residents, roam free, wandering along the dusty streets of its sole settlement, Hanga Roa, and elsewhere.
The town sports a raw frontier feel with its haphazard collection of single-story, corrugated-roofed buildings.
generally a strong-jawed, broad-chested bunch, ride bareback through
the streets, turning the heads of many a tourist. (Years ago, a Chilean
landed here intending to open a brothel. It failed. "Guys here can get
it for free," one resident explains.)
Mayor Petero Edmunds boasts
that he hasn't passed a single law in his 14-year tenure. Rapa Nui has
Chile's highest per capita beer and cigarette consumption. "Everyone
smokes," he declares.
The island is difficult to
get to. Its landscape is not lovely in the traditional sense. Its
hotels, for the most part, range from not-great to not-good.
Restaurants are expensive. Nightlife is almost non-existent.
Yet Rapa Nui ranks on many
a traveler's places-to-see-before-you-die list. The compelling draw, of
course, is the stone giants. There are 887 of these monolithic statues,
some of which stand with their backs to the sea, hollow eyes locked on
the barren, windswept terrain as if guarding vanished villages. Forty
restored figures have been erected at 11 sites.
Others lie in ruin, apparent victims of rage meted out long ago by warring factions.
The statues, or moai,
painstakingly were carved with rudimentary basalt tools from the 11th
to 17th centuries. Almost 400 remain in various stages of completion
where they werec......
Sloping slightly sideways on the grassy hills beneath the Ranu Raraku volcano, a giant stone head known as a moai shows the wear and tear of time on this triangular 64-square-mile island. On the right side of the oblong rectangular face with male features, the rock is lighter in color and its long, carefully sculpted ear and nostril are clearly visible. But on the statue"s left side, the sun and wind have eroded the nose, lip and ear. "The moai are dying by natural causes," said archaeologist Se...Did rats cause death of Easter Island ?
It was the first and most extreme ecological disaster. Easter Island, in the south Pacific, once lush with subtropical broadleaf forest, was left barren and vast seabird colonies were destroyed after the arrival of man. But now there is new evidence that human beings may not have been responsible for the destruction after all. Although Easter Island has long been held to be the most important example of a traditional society destroying itself, it appears that the real culprits were rats - up to ...Leaving stones unturned on Easter Island
As remnants of a vanished culture and a lure to tourists, the mysterious giant statues that stand as mute sentinels along the rocky coast here are the greatest treasure of this remote place. For local people, though, they also present a problem: what should be done about the hundreds of other stone icons scattered around the island, many of them damaged or still embedded in the ground?Commercial and political interests, as well as some archaeologists, would like nothing better than to restoremor...Cave system found on Easter Island
A six-kilometer long cave system has been discovered on Easter Island which is believed to have been used by the island"s inhabitants in the 16th century. Spears, axes, petroglyphs and even human skeletons have been found there."A team of experts recently discovered a six-kilometer-long lava cave system on Easter Island thought to have been used as arefuge by the island’s inhabitants during the 16th century. . The team con...Easter Island and death of an ecosystem
The giant stone statues of Easter Island have perplexed generations of archaeologists, engineers and scholars. Ever since European explorers first set eyes on them three centuries ago these carvings have presented a problem. How could the island's primitive inhabitants have erected such massive edifices – each weighing many tons – without the help of wheels, cranes, machines, metal tools or draft animals? The very existence of these giant heads on a barren outcrop of land in the middle of th...Giant statues give up hat secret
How did the Easter Island statues get their red hats ? Archaeologists now believe that the mysterious headpieces sported by the statues were rolled down from avolcano and are composed of compressed red scoriadust."Archaeologists believe they have solved one ancient mystery surrounding the famous Easter Island statues. . At 2,500 miles off the coast of Chile, the island is one of the world"smost remote places inhabited by people...Easter Island: the future's not set in stone
Michelle Jana Chan : I wondered if the pilot sighed with relief as the wedge of land emerged on the horizon. There is only deep Pacific Ocean blue between Santiago, the capital of Chile, and Easter Island, and, after five hours in the air, the cones of three extinct volcanoes rising from the sea are as welcome as they are dramatic. They must have been even more of a surprise for the 18th-century European explorers who stumbled across this craggy outcrop, especially when, on closer inspection, th...The other mystery of Easter Island
Easter Island is branded into popular consciousness as the home of the mysterious and towering moai statues, but these are not the only curiosity the South Pacific island holds. Where the moai are fascinating for their unknown purpose and mysterious craftsmen, the island's lost language of Rongorongo is equally perplexing. The unique written language seems to have appeared suddenly in the 1700s, but within just two centuries it was exiled to obscurity.Known as Rapa Nui to the island's in...Easter Island Exposed
Between 1200 and 1500 A.D., the small, remote island, 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile, was inhabited by over 10,000 people and had a relatively sophisticated and technologically advanced society.During this time, inhabitants used large boats for fishing and navigation, constructed numerous buildings and built many of the large statues, known as Tiki Gods, for which the island is now best known.However, by the late 18th century, when European explorers first discovered the island, ...