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Three Millennia of Climatic, Ecological, and Cultural Change on Easter Island: An Integrative Overview
Rull del Castillo, Valentí; Cañellas-Boltà, Núria; Margalef Marrasé, Olga; Pla-Rabes, Sergi; Sáez, Alberto; Giralt Romeu, Santiago
Universitat de Barcelona
Eastern Island (Rapa Nui) is famous for the legacy of an extinct civilization symbolized by the megalithic statues called moai. Several enigmas regarding the colonization of the island its deforestation and a presumed cultural collapse of the ancient civilization still remain elusive. According to the prevailing view, the first settlers arrived between AD 800 and AD 1200 from east Polynesia and overexploited the island's natural resources causing an ecological catastrophe leading to a cultural collapse (Flenley and Bahn, 2003 ). The main evidence for this theory was the abrupt replacement of palm pollen by grass pollen in the sediments of the island's lakes and mires (Raraku, Kao, and Aroi), which was interpreted in terms of a thorough deforestation between approximately AD 1200 and AD 1400/1600 (Flenley and King, 1984; Flenley et al., 1991; Mann et al., 2008). This ecocidal view is widely accepted not only by the scientific community but also by society, thanks to its popularization by the mass media.
cc-by (c) Rull, Valentí et al., 2016
Frontiers Media

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