Easter Island Statue Project Official Website

Storms and Songs…. Rapa Nui in Focus

Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D.

Dear Friends of EISP,
This is my first letter of 2021, and I am happy to report that in my home state of California there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. I hope you and your families and friends have weathered the pandemic and see good news on the horizon.

The past year has been busy (albeit remotely). We have published several important peer-reviewed articles about our Rano Raraku excavations, and others are in the works. I was pleased to present public programs or lectures to UCLA alumni, the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, and University of Tennessee audiences. These events offered opportunities to test ideas and concepts we are exploring in our upcoming Atlas publication. UCLA and the Rock Art Archive remain closed to normal scholarly activities, but we are in continued contact with volunteers and international colleagues in the Rock Art Network.

It was such a pleasure to work with Jeff Brown and his PBS team to explore the global issue of climate change for Rapa Nui in 2018. While filming a wide-ranging documentary about our excavations, modern challenges to site conservation, and the arts for the modern Rapa Nui community, Jeff was introduced to pianist and teacher Mahani Teave. Our segment dealt with the question “Can Easter Island’s treasures withstand the storms of climate change?” and aired before the pandemic set in. More recently, another of Jeff’s PBS Newshour segments focused on Mahani and her blossoming career and was entitled “In bringing the song of Rapa Nui to the world, pianist brings music home.”

Tourism is a basic underpinning of the Rapa Nui community, but the island has been closed now for more than a year, and the Rapa Nui landscape remains empty of tour buses. As daily life slowed many families enjoyed the beauty of their tranquil landscape, but damage done over decades by weather and human use to rock art, architecture, and habitation sites also came into sharp focus. On the plus side, we were able to respond helpfully using information in our EISP Archives and Database when conservation colleagues requested our help in researching site protections. My next letter will focus on updates about our forthcoming publication and its progress, as well as provide some information on how you can order copies in advance. Many thanks to all for your continued interest and support!

PBS Newshour on Rapa Nui, 2018: Jeffrey Brown and Jo Anne Van Tilburg in Rano Raraku quarry

PBS Newshour on Rapa Nui, 2018: Jeffrey Brown and Jo Anne Van Tilburg in Rano Raraku quarry

PBS Newshour on Rapa Nui, 2018: Jeffrey Brown and Jo Anne Van Tilburg in Rano Raraku quarry

PBS Newshour on Rapa Nui, 2018: Cristián Arévalo Pakarati being interviewed at Mana Gallery

PBS Newshour on Rapa Nui, 2018: Jeffrey Brown and Jo Anne Van Tilburg in Rano Raraku quarry

PBS Newshour on Rapa Nui, 2018: Mahani Teave being interviewed by Jeffrey Brown at The Rapa Nui School of Music and the Arts



PBS Newshour Links

Can Easter Island’s treasures withstand storms of climate change?, Jun 26, 2018

Tiny Easter Island deals with giant trash problem, Oct 5, 2018

In bringing the Song of Rapa Nui to the world, pianist brings music education home, May 11, 2021

 

Mahani Teave’s Story

The Rapa Nui School of Music and the Arts

 

UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Lecture, April 9, 2021

Ritualized Stone and Public Art on Easter Island: Highlights and Insights of Recent Excavations in the Statue Quarry – Jo Anne Van Tilburg. Watch the lecture recording on YouTube.

 

Published Peer-Reviewed Papers

Mulrooney, M., Van Tilburg, J. A., Hom, A. and McCoy, P. (2021) Refining the Chronology of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) SettlementJournal of Pacific Archaeology, 12(1), pp. 72-83.

Sherwood, S., J. Van Tilburg, C. R. Barrier, M. Horrocks, R. K. Dunn, J. Huebert, and J. M. Ramírez-Aliaga (2019) New excavations in Easter Island’s statue quarry: Soil fertility, site formation and chronology,  Journal of Archaeological Science 111 104994.

Van Tilburg, J., C. Fischer, M. Bahamondez P., and C. Arévalo P. (2016)  Seeking Solutions: An Archaeological Approach to Conservation of a Threatened Heritage on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). In Finding Solutions for Protecting and Sharing Archaeological Heritage Resouces, edited by A.P. Underhill and L.C. Salazar.  Springer Briefs in Archaeology, Chapter 5.


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

Related Posts

  1. PBS Newshour “Can Easter Island’s treasures withstand storms of climate change?”
  2. Rapa Nui Eco-Crisis?

Posted on May 12th, 2021 by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D. | Category: Letters from the Director |