It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Easter Island Population Collapse Caused By Europeans

page: 1
4

log in

join
share:

posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 02:48 PM
link   
Contrary to the usual speculation about Easter Island, this study, published by the National Academy of Science, contends that the native population did not collapse as a result of environmental damage followed by starvation. Instead, it suggests that European diseases were largely responsible for the decline.

Here is the text of the article from International Business Times:
"The demise of the inhabitants of Easter Island was not a result of warfare that descended into widespread cannibalism, a study has found.

Instead, they died off following the arrival of Europeans, who brought with them syphilis, smallpox and slavery.

Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, authors were looking to evaluate the "long-standing debate" about the downfall of the prehistoric population of Rapa Nui.

"Many researchers believe that prehistoric Rapa Nui society collapsed because of centuries of unchecked population growth within a fragile environment," they wrote. "Recently, the notion of societal collapse has been questioned with the suggestion that extreme societal and demographic change occurred only after European contact in AD 1722."

It had been believed that the civilisation of Rapa Nui collapsed before the arrival of Europeans. Studies had suggested extreme deforestation led to the destruction of the fertile soil. This coupled with a rapidly expanding population resulted in warfare, widespread famine and eventually cannibalism.

However, researchers now say there is a lack of evidence to support this theory and there is no precise chronological framework showing the civilisation's demise.

The authors looked at land use on Easter Island and found activity before the arrival of Europeans, with decline in some near-coastal and upland areas. In post-contact Easter Island, the decline increased."

www.ibtimes.co.uk... sm-not-behind-demise-rapa-nui-population-1482125




posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 03:00 PM
link   
a reply to: Parthin

When I was down on a dig in Antigua the head of archaeology was finding mounds of evidence that the indigenous peoples who lived in the Caribbean before Columbus ran into town were not savages or cannibals as they were portrayed.
The same can be most likely said for the Easter Island folk.

But.

After just doing a simple Google search even Wikipedia knew of this information you presented, it's nothing really 'new'.
I must ad tho, that when the Europeans did eventually make it the island was barren and barely alive, it was on it's way to being destroyed already, but of course in fancy European style they sped up that process.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 03:21 PM
link   
It's not a new theory, but this study took the time to examine different soil samples. The results indicate that while there were problems in various areas, the real decline occurred after European contact, not before. The debate continues. a reply to: strongfp



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 03:44 PM
link   
a reply to: Parthin

Going off recall, the predominant idea is that they over-exploited their resources and became unable to sustain their populations. This had the knock-on effect of disrupting communities, culture and the organisation that made carving and moving the moai possible.

There was another paper that came out around 2011/12 that investigated the possibility that ship rats reduced the populations of birds and small mammals. This was thought to have exacerbated the declining human populations by hitting the food-stocks.

In idiot terms, it was like Sideshow Bob in the Simpsons episode when he kept stepping on garden rakes. The Easter Islanders were hit by a succession of social and environmental mishaps. The 'lack of chronology' leaves gaps for any number of speculations although many of them probably share varying degrees of responsibility. It's unlikely that any one thing can blamed entirely.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 04:11 PM
link   
There is very good evidence to suggest that syphilis was quite possibly a Native American disease that Columbus brought back even as he left smallpox behind.

So, maybe the Europeans brought it with them, but the Native Americans started it.


So you can blame both the Europeans and Native Americans for the demise of the Easter Islanders.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 04:11 PM
link   
There's a claim that the Easter Islanders ran out of trees, and they started having the "Birdman competitions" in order to give priority over resource allocations.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 04:19 PM
link   
It wouldn't surprise me if the Easter Islanders were in such a delicate balance that it didn't take very much of anything to set them out of whack and spiraling out of control, and once the process started, it just got worse as things that were formerly in sync then became detrimental.

It could any of the factors or some of all of them.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 07:26 PM
link   
a reply to: Parthin

Thank you for posting,

S & F for you

I have read the abstract of the paper , and I have issues with their methodology and conclusions.

 Without access to the full paper, it's hard to make a cogent argument against it, but here are a couple of my objections.

 Their entire thesis is based on dating derived from obsidian hydration. As far as I can tell they are drawing a broad based picture of Rapa Nui society based on the distribution of obsidian artifacts. 

  That is like saying that you could tell what our society is like based on the number of coca cola bottle caps found at a modern site.

 The archeology of Rapa Nui is pretty robust, that is to say , there are many aspects that have been well described.

 The change in diet is well described, as you forward in time the number of bird remains vanishes nothing, as the Easter islanders drove most native birds to extinction. The number of fish and seal remains drops to nothing as the the trees to build canoes vanished. 

 By the time the Euros arrived the Easter islanders had been reduced eating almost nothing but sweet potatoes and sugar cane, it is well documented in the teeth and bones of studied remains. 

  Even the other Polynesian stopped comming to the islands as they descended into chaos, it is illustrated in their oral histories.

 A couple of points I'd like make are that syphilis is a native American disease, and rats came with the Tahitians that were the second wave of settlers to the islands.

 In fact it's the arrival of rats that is the benchmark for the initial settleing of Rapa Nui. Around 1200AD Palm nuts that show signs knawing by rats, first appear. 

 At one point after this, after the birds were all gone and after they had no trees to build canoes and fish or catch seals , rats form the basis of animal protein found at Rapa Nui sites.

  So, on that basis I thoroughly reject the studies conclusions.

 


 



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 09:13 PM
link   

originally posted by: Parthin
Contrary to the usual speculation about Easter Island, this study, published by the National Academy of Science, contends that the native population did not collapse as a result of environmental damage followed by starvation. Instead, it suggests that European diseases were largely responsible for the decline.

Here is the text of the article from International Business Times:
"The demise of the inhabitants of Easter Island was not a result of warfare that descended into widespread cannibalism, a study has found.

Instead, they died off following the arrival of Europeans, who brought with them syphilis, smallpox and slavery.

Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, authors were looking to evaluate the "long-standing debate" about the downfall of the prehistoric population of Rapa Nui.

"Many researchers believe that prehistoric Rapa Nui society collapsed because of centuries of unchecked population growth within a fragile environment," they wrote. "Recently, the notion of societal collapse has been questioned with the suggestion that extreme societal and demographic change occurred only after European contact in AD 1722."

It had been believed that the civilisation of Rapa Nui collapsed before the arrival of Europeans. Studies had suggested extreme deforestation led to the destruction of the fertile soil. This coupled with a rapidly expanding population resulted in warfare, widespread famine and eventually cannibalism.

However, researchers now say there is a lack of evidence to support this theory and there is no precise chronological framework showing the civilisation's demise.

The authors looked at land use on Easter Island and found activity before the arrival of Europeans, with decline in some near-coastal and upland areas. In post-contact Easter Island, the decline increased."

www.ibtimes.co.uk... sm-not-behind-demise-rapa-nui-population-1482125


no doubt that could have contributed to it, but there is clear evidence that prior to that the environment had degraded, including almost complete deforestation, which is still evident today.



new topics

top topics



 
4

log in

join