Easter Island Statue Project Official Website

Sustainable Archaeology on Easter Island

Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D.

March-April 2010: EISP's excavation of a <i>moai</i> in Rano Raraku Quarry interior. This moai was nicknamed "Papa" by Katherine Routledge in 1914. Quarry bedrock is visible in one of the excavation squares. The color variation on the statue's stone surface reflects previous soil levels.

March-April 2010: EISP's excavation of a moai in Rano Raraku Quarry interior. This moai was nicknamed "Papa" by Katherine Routledge in 1914. Quarry bedrock is visible in one of the excavation squares. The color variation on the statue's stone surface reflects previous soil levels.

Dear Friends of EISP,

In March and April of 2010, our EISP team began the first authorized excavations in Rano Raraku Quarry interior since Thor Heyerdahl’s Norwegian Archaeological Expedition in 1954-55. Two statues said by Katherine Routledge of the Mana Expedition to Easter Island, 1914-15 to be called “Papa” and “Papa’s Wife” were selected due to their archaeological and iconographic importance and their ethnographic history. Like the famous statue Hoa Hakananai’a now in the British Museum, “Papa” and “Papa’s Wife” have complex and enigmatic carvings on their backs. Our excavations will reveal these designs and  promise new information vital to understanding ancient Rapa Nui religious belief and statue use.

At the 50 cm level, Christian Fischer of UCLA and Monica Bahamondez P. of Chile’s Centro de Conservación y Restauración installed non-contact, microclimatic radiometric sensors near the statues to collect data on soil moisture and stone temperature. Protection treatments will follow detailed analysis of the environmental data. Partially funded by the Archaeological Institute of America Site Preservation Initiative and with support from the Mana Foundation, we need your help.  Please visit our Support link to find out how you can join us in this major new step towards understanding and protecting the unique environmental, aesthetic and historic value of Rano Raraku.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. — Archaeologist; Director, UCLA Rock Art Archive, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology; Project Director, Easter Island Statue Project Conservation Initiative

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Posted on April 24th, 2010 by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. | Category: Letters from the Director |