Who doesn't think Easter Island is cool? OK, I have a BA and MA in history and am just fascinated by this stuff. The mystery of physical artifacts such as the giant statues on Easter Island are a soft spot for me. So, I picked this up and enjoyed it.
The book is ultimately a fairly dry account of the findings of Terry Hunt and a team of graduate students who did some archeology on the Island a few years back. In addition, Hunt does some synthesis of older works including that of Thor Heyerdahl. Of course Heyerdahl was trying to show that ancient South American's brought statue moving technology to Polynesia... Never the less, well written and engaging.
The high point of the story is the myth of the statues walking. It turns out that they were made to walk with a little help of a team of islanders and then modified to stay in place once moved. Hunt's chapters on how the 9 to 19 ton statues moved from the quarry to their posts on platforms around the island is really interesting. Other explorations of how grass grew - not so much. Never the less, this is a complete history of the island and it's people based on the most current study. Well researched, well written and clearly articulated. I enjoyed this book, though I am not sure a non "history geek" would be riveted. If you are interested, this is a relatively short study. If you are not a fan of non-fiction, this is not a good book to experiment with.
The interesting people that inhabited Easter Island.
Wish I could.
Great history lesson for one and all.
A book of really interesting and well supported theories, that counter the prevailing theories about what happened to the statue builders of Easter Island. It also provides insight into Polynesian culture and its adaptability in difficult circumstances.
Easter Island was always a mysterious place I've wanted to see. Now that I'm getting older, it is officially a bucket list item. While still an exotic destination, this book has taken all the mystery away. Everything (the statues, the people, the deforestation) solved. Great to read about and glad to finally have answers but while all very interesting it lessens the appeal of one of my favorite places. A little mystery is good.
I don't have too much to say on this one without spoiling it, so I will sum it up with a quote from Commander Barclay of the HMS Topaz from the book. It is regarding the consequence of Europeans arriving on the shores of Easter Island.
"It is a sad fact that in these islands as in North America, wherever the white man establishes himself, the aborigines perish."
No matter how benign their intent, makes me wonder what would happen to us should aliens ever come to Earth.
Mysterious Polynesian People
Engineering of Rapanui people: how they curved and moved the statues are amazing.
Not really, there were too many examples of archeological surveys in other areas.
Archeological survey does not always reveal truth, because sometimes it is based on hypothesis.
Hunt and Lipo presents a compelling new theory about the history of Easter Island.
The available historical sources clearly summarised and the conclusions drawn are clear and logical.
A must for everyone with a more than passing interest in Easter Island and Polynesia.
Since this is a documentary presenting research on an ancient culture, it is what it is somewhat dry and definitely not a page turner. I don't think the presentation could be improved, due to the type of book that this is. Audio was certainly the best way for me to get this information, because I never would have stuck with it in written form! The book was a great companion to gardening in 90+ degree heat, and that is why I do audio books--to keep me focused on physical and menial tasks...
I would recommend it with the stipulation that it is NOT fiction, and is NOT exciting...but the explanation of that culture, and the marvelous insights into an uneducated people who were able to develop effective farming and engineering practices amazed me!
Presentation was clear and understandable--given the material being read, it was a good performance.
Super educational value, and the only way I would have learned about these mysterious statues.
I've always been fascinated with the archeology of Easter Island. I hope to get a chance to go there some day, but this was a good second best alternative. Hopefully some day it will help me enjoy my trip there that much more.I was curious how they would fill 6 hours talking about the mysterious statues. They did so quite elloquently by dealing with a lot of related issues. I would certainly recommend it.
I would listen to it again because it is something that must be digested...
One of the most memorable moments was the depiction of how the moai could have moved across easter island.
The heads that face away from the sea.....
tiki jay one urban landscape specialist....
The Statues That Walked is a compelling and persuasive challenge to Jared Diamond's thesis in Collapse that the people of Easter Island committed ecological suicide. Actual archaeologists, Hunt and Lipo spent years on the island analyzing the evidence to conclude that the Easter Island natives were in fact great conservationists. For example, they invented a method of stone-spreading to reduce erosion and foster plant growth in soil Europeans would have deemed barren. Most compellingly, the authors challenge the idea that the statues were moved horizontally from quarry to destination using massive amounts of wood for ramps. (Diamond theorized the islanders chopped down their forests to make ramps!) How were the statues moved? They walked. You'll have to read the book to find out how!
The narrator is very effective, and I don't give HIM two stars for performance. I give two stars to the audio editor. There's a section of the book where the same sentence is read twice in a row -- most likely the reading from the end of one day and the beginning of another. Such a glaring mistake means there are likely plenty of other errors waiting to be discovered, and I encourage Audible to fix the error as soon as possible (if they haven't already done so).
This is a great companion to Jared Diamond's Collapse.