Easter Island RocksThe Easter Island Rocks
Aging Rock Stars - International correspondence
BLACK: Raffa Nui is a small South Pacific island with an outstanding profile. Called Easter Island by an Easter Island by an 1800-discoverer from Holland, it would have been nothing more than a point on a card, if not because of its volcanic rock statue - the Moai. There are about a thousand moai spread all over the island, and at first sight they all look quite similar, but if you look very closely and really closely, you can see that each of them is inimitable.
However, the famed faces of Rafa Nui run the risk of becoming impersonal. THERE JO ANNE VAN TILBURG: "These items are very brittle, they are very delicate. "HALVORSEN: "What is it? "DR JO ANNE VAN TILBURG: "It's a fishing hook. BLACK: California archeologist Dr. Jo Anne Van Tilburg has been trying for thirty years to unravel some of the secrets of the old Rafa-Nui civilization.
THERE JO ANNE VAN TILBURG: "We are very upset. BLACK: "Can you tell Cristian what you're doing? "BLACK: Along with Dr. Van Tilburg, Cristi Aralo Pakarati, a designer by Rapa Nui. The Easter Island statue project is a joint venture. Cristiano AREVALO PAKARATI: "It's all new". SWITZERLAND: "It's all new?
" Cristiano AREVALO PAKARATI: "It's all new". BLACK: For more than two dozen years they have surveyed, charted and recorded every Moai on the island. THERE JO ANNE VAN TILBURG: "It's so thrilling. "BLACK: Now they are carrying out the first extensive scholarly archaeological excavations of sculptures in Rano Raraku, the volcano craters in which almost all the moai have been sheared.
Cristiano AREVALO PAKARATI: "It's like going to a plant where all the vehicles assemble and they say, okay, that's done, yeah, and then you find all those vehicles on the line. BLACK: This year' s aim is to discover more parts of the Rapa Nui puzzle. "DR JO ANNE VAN TILBURG: "The solution to the whole secret.
First of all, I am interested in understanding how people behave on this island in relation to this clear possession of producing a very large number of items. BLACK: Despite their impressive appearances, the sculptures are filigree. Cristiano AREVALO PAKARATI: "I have seen whole sculptures destroyed in the earth for 27 years.
SCHWARTZ: Cristian Pakarati has an eyes for detail. As CRISTIAN AREVALO PAKARATI says: "If you see the sculpture's nose hole from every corner, you will see how ah.... this nose hole is actually a fish hook instead of a nostril". SCHWARTZ: The Moai are an inestimable - if still impenetrable - roadmap of the company that made them and about which so many issues are still open.
Cristiano AREVALO PAKARATI: "I just want to paint as much as possible before the sculptures are gone. As more we file, the better for the Rapa Nui statue and population. BLACK: It is now widely acknowledged that Rapa Nui was populated by Polynesians, sometime between 400 and 1200 AD.
Sailing the 7,000 kilometers to Rafa Nui in twin-walled rafts, they only used the ocean and the skies. According to verbal legend, it was here on Anakena Beach that Rape Nui's first emperor, Hotu Matua, came on land with his people. JO ANNE VAN TILBURG: "And my vision of Rafa Nui is that from the very beginning the artist has influenced this island and its cultures in a way that we do not see on some other Polish isles.
BLACK: In old times Rape Nui, the religious focus was on the moai, the divinized depiction of the ancestors of a couple. Moai guarded their clan and land and gave their full strength - or gait - when equipped with dead corals. BLACK: She's part of the Rano Raraku archeological group.
As VAIHERI TUKI HAOA says: "In our schools we learnt the Chilean tale, but not the tale of Hotu Matua, the first type of rapeseed, and this is the tale that the kids really want to know and that makes us Rapanui". SCHWARTZ: The old man, Rafa Nui, founded a well-developed company dedicated to the production and movement of sculptures.
However, the Moai craze, which peaked between 1200 and 1600, had its price. "Huge tree-lined plants with huge tribes once occupied much of the island. It' one of the few bags of coconuts on the island. In 1722, when the discoverers of Europe came, the name of Rafa Nui was revealed.
It had shrunken from perhaps ten thousand to several thousand in number. A number of scholars have argued that the felling of plants to move and place the sculptures was largely to blame for forest degradation and eventually the breakdown of Rapa Nui's environment and societies. He is not entirely persuaded by the colapse theories.
Her own experiment suggests that tree trunks were used to move the Moai in the same way that the Polynesians brought their heavier boats overland. However, she says that other elements, such as climatic conditions, may have been playing a pivotal part in the determination of the ups and downs of Canadians.
For example, we don't know how the natural world has interfered here," says DR JO ANNE VAN TILBURG. One of the things we see, especially in the stone pit because of the waters there, is what would mean droughts on this island. SCHWARTZ: It is known that contacts with Europe had a disastrous influence on a proud and imaginative population.
Raffa Nui was taken over by Chile, rented to a non-Chilean firm and converted into a ranch for ewes and cows. The aborigines restricted themselves to the Hanga Roa area. The Hanga Roa is still the only village on the island of Rafa Nui, but today almost 6,000 population. And only half of them have Rape Nui-root.
Today, in Rapa Nui, the only sound job opportunity is to work. Rapa Nui would have many economical difficulties if it wasn't for the tourist industry. SCHWARTZ: Pantu Tepano operates a thriving equestrian world. The largest part of the 170 sq km of the island is a natural reserve managed by the Chilian authorities, which gives it the most valuable asset - the Moai.
FEENEURY TEAVE: "Chile earns a lot of it. You are publishing your tourist information with our IPR. Mr Nui's House of Representatives is campaigning for the restitution of the entire country, which is still in Chile's possession and management today, to the Rape Nui tribe, to the heirs.
PRAYING IN THE PARLIAMENT: BLACK: Erity Teave is the Human Rights Minister in the Rapa Nui legislature, a self-appointed group made up of members of each group. Every single thing we say is the laws of the country - laws given to us by our forefathers. BLACK: Chile is sued by Congress for alleged violation of the 1888 contract with Rapa Nui.
MEPs say that nothing less than autonomy will protect the legacy of Mr Nui. There are three thousand of us". BLACK: Vaiheri Tuki Haoa is a fervent proponent of independency. There are many of.... aliens... they came here, they begin their lives here, their businesses..... and they are changing our world. BLACK: Despite a large involvement in a pro-independence walk, not all of us believe that it would work on its own.
There are many who support local self-government - under the Chilean roof, but only if it gives them full command of their mai. Jo Anne? "DR JO ANN VAN TILBURG: "Yes? SCHWARTZ: Rafael Rapu is a 24-year-old archaeologist, a qualified scholar who also has a strong affection for the moai.
"It is very touching for me, especially when I discover things under the mai. BLACK: His detection of a piece of bones was supposed to be a victory, but as Rape Nui he has mistaken emotions about excavating the remnants of an forefather. BLACK: The story revealed here is important not only for the Rafa Nui, but for all of us.
I think the Rafa Nui have proven to be very flexible in historical and prehistoric terms," says DR JO ANNE VAN TILBURG. BLACK: And their faith. On the other end of the island is the famous Rano Kau. There are 500 petro-glyphs, woodcarvings of the bird man Tangata Manu and the make-make maker deity.
Chieftains chose their valiant soldiers and they had to be quite courageous to climb down the rocks at the rim of the craters, then float over often insidious water to the island and find the first nasty terns' beast. It is difficult to find many civilizations of this magnitude that have produced two different forms of faith, two ways of representing their faith, two iconic ways of representing their faith," says DR JO ANNE VAN TILBURG.
This is what I think is happening to the moai, I think this is what is happening to the moo. This wood engraving has so fully expressed what the preachers said, what they believed, let's engrave it all over the square! SCHWARTZ: That takes us back to the daunting task of rescuing the aging rocking star of Rapa Nui.
The Moai, which is being unearthed by the Easter Island Statues project, is being tested with a chemicals layer and a water-repellent. JO ANNE VAN TILBURG: "We monitor the surroundings, the precipitation, the rain, the solar radiation, the heat, the winds, the wind speed - all these things both around the sculpture and in the rock and at the end of a five-year time frame, when we finish our work in this particular pit, we will be able to tell what we know the sculpture is going to attack.
SWITZERLAND: Dr. Van Tilburg thinks that the best way to preserve the unbelievable skills and craftsmanship of old Rapanui is to perhaps take a fistful of sculptures out of the area. If not, their details could be mislaid for all but Cristian Pakaratis' drawings. THERE JO ANNE VAN TILBURG: "Could a monument be constructed on the island in which five or six perhaps most important sculptures could be placed and sheltered?
Cristian approves. As CRISTIAN AREVALO PAKARATI puts it: "I think it's going to be the right moment to do something for her. SWITZERLAND: But it is a contentious concept that has not yet convinced leaders like Mario Tuki, member of Rapa Nui's parliamentary assembly. It is the country of the Moai and our forebears.
BLACK: This discussion about nature protection will continue for some while. But first Moai number 156 - affectionately called Dad - is not used. JO ANNE VAN TILBURG: "It's tough because we know it's been tiring to take out the mud and we've shielded every centimetre of it, so sometimes it's very tough to get it back in, hear it go back in,[laughs] but I think it's obviously the best thing we can do.
BLACK: Jo Anne Van Tilburg and her crew will be back in a few month's time to do everything again as they proceed their excavations to the bottom of the six meter high sculptures. This is archeology and a particular fascination with the rescue of the Moai. JO ANNE VAN TILBURG: "I think that the value of the sculpture as an artwork, as an artistic manifestation, as an icone of religious life, as a monument of a museology.