"A South American connection?" Top 5 Page for this destination Easter Island Things to Do Tip by TheWanderingCamel

Easter Island Things to Do: 305 reviews and 695 photos

  Ahu Tahiri
by TheWanderingCamel
 
  • Ahu Tahiri - Easter Island
      Ahu Tahiri
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • Headless moai - Easter Island
      Headless moai
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • Sad face - Easter Island
      Sad face
    by TheWanderingCamel
 

Whilst it is generally accepted these days that the origins of the people of Rapa Nui lies in Polynesia, there are some who see a case for the theory that they came from South America.

One pointer they say, is the islanders long-time cultivation of the sweet potato - a South American plant - which was a staple food long before the arrival of the first Europeans. There are no really satisfactory explanations as to how the vegetable came to the island and, for the moment, the academic and archaeological jury has agreed to be out on that particular mystery

The immaculately precise stone masonry of one of the altars(known as Ahu Tahiri) at Ahu Vinapu is another indicator for those who hold to the South American connection. There's no denying that the sophistication of the way these blocks have been hewn and fitted together shows a strong resemblance to pre-Incan stonework, and there are others where the stone masonry is almost as good. Early carbon dating seemed to indicate Ahu Tahiri was among the earliest workings on the island but nothing here is ever that cut and dried - later work in this field has dated the ahu here as one of the latest works.

Ahu Vinapu holds another mystery - a unique moai - carved from red stone, headless now(though it was carved with two heads!), badly damaged and eroded, but still with discernable legs (which no other standing moai possess) and female physical features.

Before you leave here, look around for one of the island's most haunting images - the upturned head of a moai buried so deeply in the earth only its face gazes up at you from the grass

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 16, 2007
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