Easter Island researchResearch on Easter Island
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There are more people visiting Easter Island than Hawaii. There is more archeology per sq. metre than Egypt or Peru. There is also a story of the invasion of foreigners: the first slaver or "blackbirding" exports, which dragged several hundred island dwellers to South America in the middle to the end of the 19th century, then the Chileans, who annihilated the small island of the Pacifier.
In the second half of the twentieth centuries, the invitation took a different turn when archeologists from all over the globe recognized the value of this intricate, insulated community and did research in mass. They took artefacts from the island for years, with or without authorization from the state. By the end of the 1990' s and early 2000' s, what disappeared from the island became more subtle information and information collected by overseas explorers for their work, to be passed on in paper, book and conference materials to disseminate Easter Island literacy throughout the globe, but seldom with the Easter Islanders.
However, he did not take any artefacts with him, but wandered all over the island, catalogued more than 700 prehistorical Megalith sculptures or mai, documented and mapped each one and shared this information with everyone on-line. Many years before completing his doctoral thesis, he resolved to spend his spare years on Easter Island and to devote himself to a very unusual aim in research archaeology: education for the young people of the area.
Her work, which was partly sponsored by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Support Awards in 2017, documents, photographs and explores the island's past and makes it available not only to the whole globe but also to Easter Island. "I have seen in the Easter Island archaeological scene in my early years so far from an equivalent sharing between what a gratingo archeologist could get from his island days and what the locals would make of that experience," he said.
"In a place like Easter Island, where probably more than 90 per cent of the country's economic activity is mainly archaeological in nature, I have come to realize that my expertise can be very powerful for the area. "One part of what I have been working towards by posting all our work on the non-profit website is to set the standard higher and put much more emphasis on research than on school work: the archeologists who have dedicated themselves to the archaeological work:
Easter Island high schools are measuring a centuries-old artefact. This island - a Chilean area, although Polynesian in cultural terms and home to the Rape Nui - is the most remote, busy and only island on the world. It is 63 sq. m., most of which are part of the National Park Rapida Nui.
This could be a subtropical island, if not for the airports and seaports in this small city. cruisers sail the island's jagged coast on a regular basis, inundating the roads and market with people. It is a city of two epochs and offers cyber cafés and luxurious resorts through which natives go barefooted or on horses.
The Easter Island is home to several hundred huge rock sculptures that seemed to sprout from the floor. Rapa Nui were almost completely annihilated in the latter 1800' and early 1900' by a mixture of enslavement, collonialism and illness, and much of the people's verbal story was forgotten, making it difficult to find consequent explanation of the significance and symbols behind the cairns.
And like the natives everywhere, the local population is often not a tourist in their own country. The majority of our research is done by foreign scientists, but also with a view to their own research interests. As Shepardson saw a void - an occasion that would allow Rafa Nui to learn about their own inheritance and their own story and become a part of the inheritance that they pass on.
While on Easter Island, he involves his pupils with the natives and the natives with his pupils at every turn, taking along on journeys with them. Indeed, TAO has established a symbolic relation to the Easter Island government:
While Shepardson is able to provide every student with practical work at the school, accessing their artefacts and using available sources every season, the administration gets a push to know what artefacts are where and in what state, accessing all research and data bases of TAO and a burgeoning group of college and college graduates with interest and expertise in archeology, learning and the Rapa Nui Heirloom.
It does not solve all the issues that Easter Island faces after having lost culture for many years. Beno Atan, a TAO employee, speaks to some of the student about the Easter Island statuary story. For this reason he tries to give more than he is taking from Easter Island - a wish that came about in an organic way as he hoofed around the island, wandered from sculpture to sculpture and worked on his Ph.
He begins with his research techniques. For example, in one sommer, Shepardson and his Easter Island student staff investigated the growing of various types of braids at certain archeological locations. The group used digitally captured the number of lichens growing over the years and then measures how many were present, allowing them to return to the old places that were long ago purified or mended.
He works with high schools that have no education in archeology or research techniques; many of them have not even been to all the places they will be visiting with Shepardson, although they will live on this small island all their years. You do not have specific facilities or laboratories or months to devote to a research or financing by an academic organisation.
"There was no gear, but I found an old todolite left at the locals factory and raised it with some handicrafts and WD-40," Shepardson said. "In the 1940s we had native college kids using a 1940s todolite to make a two-dimensional card showing these top knots of statues (pukao).
This work will then return to the island next summers to create the first pedagogical replicas of the island's museums. The Magdalena Mery, who begins her last year at Easter Island, was part of this program last year. When she was done, Mery proposed that her college should rebuild her Mantavai, a small backyard encircled by a rock face, and they did.
The programme allows pupils to participate in a programme that helps them to raise their contemporaries and get to know their own stories. Shepardson' s first student had a little girl a few years after she worked with him. Your kid is nearing high scholastic age, and she wants a second-generation archeologist.
A Easter Island scholar takes a photograph of an artefact to build a Rapa Nui Collections digitized archives. "I have seen how some of my graduates have played what I believe to be a truly important and convincing role on and off the island in the fields of formation, preservation and acheology. We begin to see how freshmen commit to four- or five-year university curricula in archeology and humanities and return to TAO lectures.
There' are a dozen issues around the artefacts of Rapa Nui: Are they from the Easter Islands or are they from a museum? While Shepardson has many thoughts on the question of repatriation of artefacts, in relation to the operation he has set himself only one task: to create a data base in which all artefacts are stored.
He doesn't call the curator and tell them to send the sculptures back; he doesn't knock on the governor's door and tell him to ask for the artefacts back. He' s not for both sides, he and the high schools just catalog what's out there.
In order to get the issue even nearer home, he introduces it to the schoolchildren. The student is involved in a discussion on one of the subjects that the student carries out each year. It allocates a theme and the student spends half a full working days in the museums to study their themes, then discuss them. His favorite is the destiny of Hoa Hakananananai'a, a large Easter Island sculpture now in the British Musem.
Is it to be taken back to Easter Island, does he ask the pupils, or should it be? However, he has envisaged an alternate approach based on the shared use of information that forms the basis of his research. Digital artifact replication through photographs, videos, 3D imaging and even 3D print enables more individuals to interoperate with historical and interrelation.
If you are interested in a holiday on Easter Island, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Shepardson or go to the TAO website for more information.