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The Statues That Walked Audiobook

The Statues That Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island

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Publisher's Summary

The monumental statues of Easter Island, both so magisterial and so forlorn, gazing out in their imposing rows over the island’s barren landscape, have been the source of great mystery ever since the island was first discovered by Europeans on Easter Sunday 1722. How could the ancient people who inhabited this tiny speck of land, the most remote in the vast expanse of the Pacific islands, have built such monumental works?

No such astonishing numbers of massive statues are found anywhere else in the Pacific. How could the islanders possibly have moved so many multi-ton monoliths from the quarry inland, where they were carved, to their posts along the coastline? And most intriguing and vexing of all, if the island once boasted a culture developed and sophisticated enough to have produced such marvelous edifices, what happened to that culture? Why was the island the Europeans encountered a sparsely populated wasteland?

The prevailing accounts of the island’s history tell a story of self-inflicted devastation: a glaring case of eco-suicide. The island was dominated by a powerful chiefdom that promulgated a cult of statue making, exercising a ruthless hold on the island’s people and rapaciously destroying the environment, cutting down a lush palm forest that once blanketed the island in order to construct contraptions for moving more and more statues, which grew larger and larger. As the population swelled in order to sustain the statue cult, growing well beyond the island’s agricultural capacity, a vicious cycle of warfare broke out between opposing groups, and the culture ultimately suffered a dramatic collapse.

When Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo began carrying out archaeological studies on the island in 2001, they fully expected to find evidence supporting these accounts. Instead, revelation after revelation uncovered a very different truth.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2011 Terry Hunt and Carl Weber (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Hunt and Lipo make a major contribution to global history. They decipher the tangled skeins of Easter Island’s history with cutting edge scholarship and vivid writing. Their meticulous research tells a tale not of ecological armageddon, as so commonly believed, but of brilliant human achievement under difficult, isolated circumstances. This important book revolutionizes our understanding of ancient Polynesia and is a must-buy for anyone visiting this extraordinary place." (Brian Fagan, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara)

"Finally, a fair and balanced account of the deeper human and environmental histories of Easter Island by people who not only know the records intimately but also helped produce them. In the midst of an ocean of sensationalist accounts of these histories, The Statues that Walked rights many wrongs." (Donald K. Grayson, Professor, Department of Anthropology and Quaternary Research Center, University of Washington)

"A great read and a genuinely exciting account of how the science of archaeology is done at its best." (John Edward Terrell, Professor and Regenstein Curator of Pacific Anthropology, Field Museum of Natural History)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (372 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rebecca 07-23-12
    Rebecca 07-23-12 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "I want to visit them!"
    Where does The Statues That Walked rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Fascinating non-fiction.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Statues That Walked?

    Learning how they were moved.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a very enlightening account of what has been learned about the statutes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 05-16-13
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 05-16-13 Member Since 2011

    I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "The process of solving a great mystery"

    The description of this book is not very good. Here's the story: there's an island, it's isolated from those near it. It's devoid of trees. It has no reefs, so there are few fish to catch. There are no large animals to hunt. It's only 64 square miles large. Oh yeah, and somehow and for some reason the indigenous people didn't die out but managed to make over 900 multi-ton statues of human faces and move them from a quarry in the middle of the island to the shores, all facing inward. So what happened?

    This book, written by two scientists who have studied Easter Island for many years, take you through the evidence in the soil, the remains and the artifacts and tackle one individual mystery after another until your perception of this small island and these amazing people has completely altered. It's a little clerical, a little less storytelling than scientific analysis, but it's an amazing read. The thought process and the way these people look at the real data and come to completely new conclusions that in hindsight make such sense, is the way people should confront the problems in their own lives.

    Also, it's such a good story of history and pre-history that you should definitely add it to your cart.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Kindler 03-25-17
    The Kindler 03-25-17 Member Since 2014

    Science, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Military History, Thrillers, Great Courses, Horror, and anything with a good story. Please forgive errors.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The History of Easter Island"

    As stated in the title, this is about the history of the island. It covers the natives and their culture. There is some comparison between them and others Islanders and how they survived. It explains what might have happened to the ecosystem and the interactions with foreigners. There was a lot of detail but not add much about the statues as I had hoped. Still recommend it though as an important part of history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn 03-10-17
    Lynn 03-10-17 Member Since 2016
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    7
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    Story
    "interesting"

    An in- depth, scientific account of the island, the people who lived there and how the statues may have been transported and by whom.

    This is definitely an informative, academic book. I enjoyed the narrator as he seemed soothing, rather than dry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    zenbeeman 03-10-17
    zenbeeman 03-10-17 Member Since 2014
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    "interesting"

    This was way more interesting than I could have imagined. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn A. Davidson 02-11-17

    I love books. Love to read them, listen to them, and build my stash of them.

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    "Very interesting"

    If you were ever curious about the huge rock statues on Easter Island you will find this explanation to be satisfying. It was well performed, clearly read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kayla 01-31-17
    Kayla 01-31-17
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    4
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    "Interesting but Sluggish"

    Easter Island is fascinating, and this account of its history is no exception. The only downfall is, because it is an in-depth archeological and social study, sometimes the narration gets lost in technical terms and explanation of studies that would serve great purpose in Peer Reviewed Journals, but is too technical for casual reading.
    The narration is great, and the story is interesting, overall. If you have any interest in Easter Island and its sometimes fraught history, give this a chance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 01-04-17
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    5
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    Story
    "Great listen."

    I grew up with a fascination of archaeology and this island in particular and this book provided me with all of the answers to questions I had and even more. I began to lose interest around chapter three where everything told starts feeling redundant but then suddenly I was captivated unable to stop listening as more and more of the research unfolded.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    james 07-02-16
    james 07-02-16
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    "Fascinating story well told"

    As absorbing as a good well told as a police procedural. Filled with archeological and cultural science explained and not much it appears oversimplified.
    I have a preference for the straight not over dramatic delivery of this narrator whose delivery focused the listener on the story rather than the performance

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Yulee, FL, United States 05-11-16
    Amazon Customer Yulee, FL, United States 05-11-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Great structure"

    They did a great job of presenting "established" myths and then debunking them one by one. Really held my interest!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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