Dear Friends of EISP,
We have had another wonderful, but really wet, field season during the month of August. The nearly constant rains were a big challenge. However, they also gave us more time than usual in our field lab, which was good. Our excavation goal was to expose the front of RR-001-156 to what we presumed was the level of a fire set nearby in 1920. We are certain of the date because of a photo we were asked to identify (slide, collection, Douglas Stewart Fine Books Pty. Ltd.). We also found the large fire scar in the soil.
Which expedition set the fire? We came up with some possible culprits, but we’re not certain. Their goal was apparently to take photos depicting the “mystery” of Easter Island. It might have been an American, Australian, or Chilean group. We need help sleuthing this out. Have a look at the mystery photo on the web site above, and if any of you have a clue about which expedition might have taken this photo and would like to share it, we’d be grateful! Drop us a note at email@example.com.
Our major excavation goal this season was to document the rock art (petroglyphs) on the statue’s torso. We accomplished our goal, but it was rough going. We found dozens of what by now are very familiar stone tools (toki). We have well over 1,000 toki now under study.
Screening the heavy, wet dirt that came out of the excavation demanded more than the usual amount of patience, and our Rapanui team members deserve a big mahruru for their efforts! We were also rewarded for our slogging by some really exciting finds! The field report we’ve just posted here for the season includes a photo of one of the most interesting objects: a fishhook made of bone.
During our field season we were visited by a film crew from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The terrific program that resulted can be seen here.
Our work will continue in November and then again in March, 2013. Thanks for your interest in EISP!
Jo Anne Van Tilburg
Jo Anne Van Tilburg and Cristián Arévalo Pakarati lead an all-Rapa Nui crew and core staff consisting of Dario Ika Paoa, excavator; Patricio Rodrigo Madariaga Paoa, excavator; Vaiheri Tuki Haoa, photographer; and Rosa Lucía Ika Paoaand Anastasia Ika Paoa, logistics and support.
We have been joined seasonally by Carlos Rapu Rapu, Benjamin Mihaore Pakarati González, Ana Pakarati Icka, Margarita Pakarati, and Melisanda Pakarati;
Rapa Nui students in archaeology and conservation, some of whom are from Universidad Internacional SEK, include Isaías Hey Gonzáles, Joaquin Soler Hotu, Rafael Paoa Rapu, Tiktehatu Astete Paoa and Felipé Rubio Munita.
EISP staff who have worked on the excavation include Alice Hom (2010) and Kim Anh Hoang (2011).
Volunteers include Tokerau Pakarati Icka, Hotu Pakarati Icka, and Johannes Van Tilburg, FAIA. CONAF employees, especially Pablo Hito, have all been present or involved at one time or another.
Easter Island Statue Project Conservation Initiative
Season V Excavation Summary
RR-001-156 and Square 4, RR-001-157
Jo Anne Van Tilburg
This report is another in a series of reports dealing with the excavation of statues RR-001-156 and RR-001-157 in Rano Raraku quarry, Rapa Nui, Chile. The previous reports were filed with the appropriate Chilean and Rapa Nui agencies and also provided to the general public on the Easter Island Statue Project web site (www.eisp.org). This report deals with the continuing excavation of statue RR-001-156 to the base and Square 4 of RR-001-157. These activities took place during Season V (November 2011) of the Easter Island Statue Project Conservation Initiative.
Save the Easter Island Statues
Through a methodical archaeological survey we have accomplished the digital mapping of Rano Raraku statue quarry, documented over one thousand statues throughout the entire island and created the world’s largest archaeological archive describing the statues.
Working with scientific colleagues at The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA and with conservators from Chile’s Centro Nacional de Conservación y Restauración. We are excavating and conserving statues in Rano Raraku interior quarry. Knowledge gained there will allow preservation of other statues throughout the island.
In 2008, our work was rewarded with a grant from the Site Preservation Task Force of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA; www.archaeological.org).
A wonderful AIA grant jumpstarted our conservation initiative. EISP has no endowment. Our only source of income is grants and U.S. tax deductible contributions. We also enjoy profit sharing through sales of contemporary indigenous art in our Mana Gallery on Easter Island.
Please join us in A Monumental Task, become a Friend of EISP!
—Jo Anne Van Tilburg