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Articles highlighted in Letters from the Director, Jo Anne Van Tilburg:

Phase 2 Season 2

Easter Island Statue Project

August 12- 31, 2014

Dr. Jo Anne Van Tilburg, UCLA Project Director

Cristián Arévalo Pakarati/ Rapa Nui Project Co-director

José Miguel Ramírez A., Universidad de Valparaiso, Co-investigator

 

Introduction

This report is prepared as part of a numbered series that describes the excavations conducted by the Easter Island Statue Project in Rano Raraku Quarry Zone, Interior Region, Quarry 02, Statues RR-001-156 and RR-001-157. The team is composed of an all-Rapanui excavation staff directed by the project Co-directors. With the completion of the conservation and scientific investigations conducted by our Chilean collaborator, Monica Bahamondez P, and our UCLA collaborator Dr. Christian Fischer, we were joined this season by our new Chilean collaborator Sr. José Miguel Ramírez A., Universidad de Valparaíso. Our research agreement is contained in a Memo of Understanding between the Universidad de Valparaíso and the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. This report summarizes our collections and investigations for the period beginning Monday, March 10 and ending Monday, March 14, 2014.  This report is part of a preliminary final report that includes some but not all of our in-process laboratory test results and collections analyses, as per our permit CMN ORD 5467-09. A final report will be published in 2015-2016 by the The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.

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Posted on October 28th, 2014 by admin | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, Conservation Reports, EISP Excavation, Featured Articles |

Phase 2 Season 1

Easter Island Statue Project Phase 2, Season 1

August 2013

Jo Anne Van Tilburg and Cristián Arévalo P.

This report describes recent excavations beginning Phase 2 of the project and concentrating on the ventral side of Moai RR-001-156. These excavations are a continuation of limited excavations conducted on the ventral side during Phase 1, which focused on reaching the base of the statue on the dorsal side.  The excavation season commenced on August 6, 2013 and actual excavation ended on August 29, 2013. The excavation was subsequently closed to protect it from heavy rains and with the help of personnel from CONAF and CMN.

[Read More...]

Posted on October 28th, 2014 by admin | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, Conservation Reports, EISP Excavation, Featured Articles |

Phase 1 Season 6

Easter Island Statue Project (EISP) Conservation Initiative

March 2012

 

Jo Anne Van Tilburg and Cristián Arévalo Pakarati have accomplished an archaeological survey and inventory of the monolithic stone sculpture (moai) of Rapa Nui. To date, we have accounted for 1,300 monolithic sculptural objects within the island-wide survey sections, in museum collections, and within the Rano Raraku quarry zone, including complete (as opposed to intact) statues, heads, torsos, fragments, shaped block. The latter are considered to be evidence of human activity in the form of incomplete or abandoned projects elucidating energy investment. The most recent object entered into our collaborative on-line database (DATASHARE) is a red stone torso submitted by Enrique Tucki M. of the Oficina Provincial, the Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF).

[Read More...]

Posted on October 28th, 2014 by admin | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, Conservation Reports, EISP Excavation, Featured Articles |

Phase 1 Season 5

 

Easter Island Statue Project Conservation Initiative

Season V Excavation Summary

RR-001-156 and Square 4, RR-001-157

Jo Anne Van Tilburg

November 2011

Introduction

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.
[Read More...]

Posted on October 28th, 2014 by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, Conservation Reports, EISP Excavation, Featured Articles |

Phase 1 Season 4

Easter Island Statue Project Conservation Initiative Preliminary Report

July-August 2011

Project Target Statues

The target statues from the inception of this project are RR-001-156 and RR-001-157, both of which are located within Quarry 2 of Rano Raraku.  RR-001-158 is adjacent to Quarry 2 on the eastward side and was selected by the conservators as a study control.  All of these designations are given on EISP Map Sheet 1 (Van Tilburg and Arévalo Pakarati 2009). Rano Raraku, the quarry in which fully 95% of the known 1,042 monolithic sculptural objects documented to date by this project were carved, is a unit of the Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF; www.conaf.cl) and, as such, a World Heritage site.

[Read More...]

Posted on October 28th, 2014 by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, Conservation Reports, EISP Excavation, Featured Articles |

Phase 1 Season 3

Easter Island Statue Project Conservation Initiative Preliminary Report
February 2011


Introduction

This report is the third in a series documenting the implementation of permitted excavations in Rano Raraku quarry on target statues RR-001-156 and RR-001-157 . Specifically, this report deals with the third excavation season, or Phase 3, and is focused specifically on RR-001-156. The conservation follow-up work that is anticipated for March, 2011 will be conducted by Dr. Christian Fischer and documented by him in a separate report.

The target statue for this season is RR-001-156.  It was previously excavated by the Mana Expedition to Easter Island in 1914-15 (Routledge 1919). According to Routledge’s unpublished notes, “at the start, the statue was buried to a line midway between the lobe of the ear and the angle of the jaw” (NGS/WKR). Two separate excavations, both of which were haphazard and are poorly documented, were made of the dorsal side of the statue. The first excavation reached “to a depth of 16 feet measuring from the crown of the head.”   The second excavation at the back was made “to extend the first excavation to 10 feet from the statue back” simply to take photographs.  At the front, excavation reached “to the navel.”  Our Historic Level Book provides a synopsis of the excavations and the objects collected.

[Read More...]

Posted on October 28th, 2014 by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, Conservation, Conservation Reports, EISP Excavation, Featured Articles |

Phase 1 Season 2

Easter Island Statue Project Conservation Initiative Preliminary Report October-November 2010

Introduction

This report is a preliminary statement of the tasks undertaken and goals achieved during the second field season of Phase 2 of the Easter Island Statue Project Conservation Initiative.  Phase 1 took place in April, 2010 and a full report of that work is on file with the appropriate agencies.  This report is a detailed overview but not a final, scientific analysis or synthesis of our findings. That will be produced at the end of the combined work planned for Phase 3 and Phase 4, which entails the similar excavation and study of Moai RR-001-156.

The Conservation Initiative is funded by the Archaeological Institute of America, and its intent is a scientific evaluation of the state of preservation, above and below ground, of the two statues described here (RR-001-156 and RR-001-157).  In addition, the Conservation Initiative will monitor and collect scientific data on the discrete environmental contexts of the two statues. These data will be employed to determine the course of stone stabilization treatment to be embarked upon for each statue, and how that treatment may or may not be generalized to other statues.

[Read More...]

Posted on October 28th, 2014 by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, Conservation, Conservation Reports, EISP Excavation, Featured Articles |

Phase 1 Season 1

Easter Island Statue Project Conservation Initiative Preliminary Report March-April, 2010

Introduction

This project is the first controlled, scientific archaeological excavations ever undertaken in the interior of Rano Raraku Quarry.  It is also the first stone conservation and preservation pilot program in Rano Raraku.

All but one of the 22 standing statues (moai) in Rano Raraku Quarry interior have been previously exposed through unscientific and undocumented digging. The Target Statues for this project (RR-001-156 and RR-001-157) have been dug or otherwise disturbed by the Mana Expedition (1914), the Franco-Belgian Expedition (1935), and the Norwegian Archaeological Expedition (1954-55).

The Easter Island Statue Project (EISP) has a 20 year history of archaeological survey on Easter Island (Rapa Nui), the objective of which is the creation of a full and complete, island-wide monolithic and portable statue inventory and the compilation of an historical image record for each statue. Prior to the selection of Quarry Two for the excavations described here, the EISP team completed a five year mapping foray in the interior of Rano Raraku, the volcanic quarry from which 95 percent of the extant monolithic sculpture were produced (Van Tilburg 1994; Van Tilburg, Arévalo Pakarati and Alice Hom 2008).
[Read More...]

Posted on October 28th, 2014 by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, Conservation Reports, EISP Excavation, Featured Articles |

Fly to our Excavation Site!

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Posted on June 10th, 2012 by Kim Anh Hoang | Categories: 2000s, EISP Excavation, Featured Articles |

Meet our EISP Excavation Crew!

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.

Dr. Christian Fischer and Mónica Bahamondez Prieto are in charge of the conservation initiative of our AIA-funded project, with Paula Valenzuela and Tahira Edmunds on field data collection.

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.

Posted on May 22nd, 2012 by EISP Staff | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, EISP Excavation, Featured Articles |

Join Us in a Monumental Task

Save the Easter Island Statues

Dear Friends,

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

Posted on August 31st, 2011 by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, Conservation, Conservation Reports, EISP Excavation, Featured Articles, Support |

Conservation Report Season II

Environmental Monitoring and Conservation Mission
Dr. Christian Fischer and Ms. Monica Bahamondez P.

May 14- 26

Introduction

The main objectives of this mission, carried out with the assistance of Cristián Arévalo Pakarati, Rafael Paoa Rapu and Vaiheri Tuki Haoa, were firstly, to apply the protective treatment on statues RR-001-157 and RR-001-156 currently being excavated by EISP and secondly, to start the Toki Sourcing Project by analyzing the elemental composition of the ‘toki’ found during the excavation using a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer.

[Read More...]

Posted on July 11th, 2011 by EISP Staff | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, Conservation, Conservation Reports, Featured Articles |

Conservation Report Season I

Environmental Monitoring and Conservation Mission
Dr. Christian Fischer and Ms. Monica Bahamondez P.

March 8-16, 2011

Introduction


The main objective of this mission, carried out with the assistance of Cristián Arévalo Pakarati, was to evaluate the status of the environmental monitoring equipment illegally removed in 2010 and to re-install it on site for a measurement campaign of seven months to November 2011. In addition, another objective was to complete the building of the fence on the site to ensure safety around both equipment and excavated areas and to avoid potential damage from cattle and horses. Finally, a few meetings in relation to the project were also organized with different people on the island.

[Read More...]

Posted on April 6th, 2011 by EISP Staff | Categories: 2000s, Conservation Reports, Featured Articles |

AIA Conservation Project Reconnaissance

Field Work

In June, 2009, Christian Fischer, Research Associate of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA and Mónica Bahamondez P., Centro Nacional de Conservación y Restauración joined Jo Anne Van Tilburg and Cristián Arévalo Pakarati (of EISP) in the field on Rapa Nui. Our immediate goal was a fact-finding and reconnaissance field study that would acquaint our colleagues on the AIA Project with the island sites and objects that are target concerns of our upcoming conservation work.

Christian Fischer, Mónica Bahamondez P. and Jo Anne Van Tilburg in the Rano Raraku quarry with statues 'Mama' and 'Papa.'

Christian Fischer, Mónica Bahamondez P. and Jo Anne Van Tilburg in the Rano Raraku quarry with statues 'Mama' and 'Papa.'

In the interior of Rano Raraku quarry, EISP has mapped and documented every statue in each of their various carving phases, as well as the independent histories of the individual quarries. Two statues, famously dubbed “Papa” and “Mama” by Katherine Pease Routledge, co-leader of the Mana Expedition to Easter Island, 1919, were the immediate focus of our attention. We studied specific issues of stone faulting and breakage, and planned a strategy for environmental monitoring, which will be carried out during 2009-2010. [Read More...]

Posted on September 14th, 2009 by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. | Categories: 2000s, AIA Partnership, Featured Articles |

Hoa Hakananai’a Laser Scan Project

September 2007

Background, Rationale and Goals

Laser scannning Hoa Hakananai’a at the British Museum.<br />
Photo by J. Van Tilburg.

Laser scannning Hoa Hakananai’a at the British Museum. Photo by J. Van Tilburg.

To date, Van Tilburg and the Easter Island Statue Project (EISP) have inventoried 887 monolithic statues (moai) and compiled a metric database buttressed by 24,000 original and archived images. Some 35% of the known statues are located on or in direct relation to ceremonial sites called image ahu (Martinsson – Wallin 1994: Appendix 1 gives 164 image ahu; Van Tilburg 1986; Van Tilburg and Vargas C. 1998).

Rano Raraku, a volcanic crater on the island’s eastern plain, was the source of the sideromelane (basaltic) tuff from which 95% of the statues were carved. This source is irrefutable as there are 397 in situ statues, of which 141 in various stages of completion have recently been mapped by EISP in the interior quarries (Van Tilburg 2005; www.eisp.org). Much rarer statue lithologies are basalt (hawaiite lavas) from three named regions; trachyte and ‘red basaltic scoria’ or ‘red scoriaceous lava’ (also used as pukao or ‘topknots’ that were placed on the heads of about 75-100 statues).

There are only 20 statues (portable and non-portable) now in the EISP database which were carved of basalt. Of these, 7 are in museum collections. The British Museum holds two basalt statues, both of which are of central and very great significance to furthering our understanding of Rapa Nui history. One of them (1869.10-5.1) is re-carved on its dorsal side with bas-relief and incised petroglyphs of great iconographic significance. This re-carving is unique in its style, detail, and expertise and quality of execution. Four other statues, including 1869.10-6.1 (Moai Hava), have incised petroglyphs of lesser distinction but within clearly defined, limited typological categories. Another 30 statues still in situ on the island have applied decorations of similar styles.

[Read More...]

Posted on May 11th, 2009 by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. | Categories: 2000s, Featured Articles, Laser Scanning, Museum Objects Inventory |

Heads Up! An Exciting New Discovery!

Dear Friends of EISP,

Among the many wonderful insights we have gained during our excavations in Rano Raraku Zone, Interior Quarry Region this new head is the most exciting!  Measuring 69cm tall, it is located in Square 6 at a depth of 420cm.  When we discovered it the head was standing upright, propped in place with stones, close to the right side of

Patricio Madariaga Paoa and the newly discovered head (69cm tall). ©2014 Easter Island Statue Project/ Jo Anne  Van Tilburg

the moai (RR-001-156). The moai, in turn, is unfinished and standing in a basin cut with great skill and care into the bedrock. There was no intention of moving this moai out of the quarry.

The rounded form of the head and its incised, almond-shaped eye is more in keeping with petroglyph styles that with the elongated, rectilinear style of the moai.  However, and as the new 3D imagery created by EISP team member Greg Downing of xRES Studio clearly shows, the head style is also very similar to that of Tukuturi (RR-002-030), the famous kneeling statue uncovered by the Norwegian Archaeological Expedition, 1954-55. This incredible new find means that we will now have to reconsider our ideas of moai style.

Other finds during our 2014 seasons include a large shaped block of coral, an obsidian eye of a small carving, more pigments, basalt and obsidian tools, and a bone fishhook. To date, we have also recovered more than 6,000 stone tools (toki)!  The analysis of this incredible amount of material is a huge undertaking, and we are hard at work with colleagues on laboratory studies of obsidian, basalt, wood, and carbon.  We’ll keep you informed as we make, quite literally, new headway!

 

Jo Anne Van Tilburg

Posted on October 28th, 2014 by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. | Categories: Featured Articles, Letters from the Director |

The AIA selects Easter Island as its second Site Preservation project

January 5, 2009

Efforts will protect and preserve Easter Island’s Rapa Nui Moai statues

Boston – The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), North America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology, has selected the monolithic sculptures (moai) of Easter Island (Rapa Nui), Chile, and national park as its second site preservation project. With a grant to the Easter Island Statue Project from the organization’s AIA Site Preservation Task Force, the Project will develop stone preservation techniques to arrest the rapid deterioration of these statues as a result of the fragile nature of their volcanic stone, climate change, and tourism. The Easter Island Statue Project is directed by UCLA archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg and co-directed by Cristían Arévalo Pakarati.

[Read More...]

Posted on April 18th, 2009 by EISP Staff | Categories: AIA Partnership, Conservation, Featured Articles |