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The Rapanui carver’s perspective: Notes and observations on the experimental replication of monolithic sculpture (moai)

April 19th, 2009

This is an abbreviated version of a paper originally published in Pacific Art: Persistence, Change and Meaning (Herle et al. eds. Adelaide: Crawford House, 2002 for citations and notes).

Real Time and Individual Energy

Experimental archaeology is the systematic approach used to test, evaluate and explicate method, technique, assumption, hypothesis and theory at all levels of archaeological research. This paper employs a replicated moai to describe relationships between real time and individual energy, and explores the subjective artistic dimension of moai carving during an experiment lasting 32 8-hour days. It is drawn from journal notes taken by Van Tilburg from October 1997 to May 1998, by Arévalo from December 1988 to July 1999, and on written correspondence in English and Spanish between the authors.

Carvers and Craving

On Easter Island (Rapa Nui) ethnographic data related to monolithic stone carving methods, production techniques and carvers are scant. In the 1800s some Rapanui persons were distinguished by their relationships to ancestors who had been famed stone carvers. Katherine Routledge, co-leader of the Mana Expedition to Easter Island, 1913-1915, collected some names of statues that were said, in actuality, to be names of carvers, and believed them to have veracity.
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Posted in 1990s, Sculpture Embellishment, Transport Experiment |

The AIA selects Easter Island as its second Site Preservation project

April 18th, 2009

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.

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Posted in AIA Partnership, Conservation, Featured Articles |