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Nova: Mystery of Easter Island (2012)

 NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Pbs (Direct)
  • DVD Release Date: January 8, 2013
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009B0L4O6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,214 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Mystery of Easter Island. A remote, bleak speck of rock in the middle of the Pacific, Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, has mystified the world ever since the first Europeans arrived in 1722. How and why did the ancient islanders build and move nearly 900 giant statues or moai, weighing up to 86 tons? And how did they transform a presumed paradise into a treeless wasteland, bringing ruin upon their island and themselves? NOVA explores controversial recent claims that challenge decades of previous thinking about the islanders, who have been accused of everything from ecocide to cannibalism. Among the radical new theories is that the islanders used ropes to "walk" the statues upright, like moving a fridge. With the help of an accurate 15-ton replica statue, a NOVA team sets out to test this high-risk, seemingly unlikely theory-serving up plenty of action and surprises in this fresh investigation of one of the ancient world's most intriguing enigmas.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Experimental Archaeology and the Moai of Easter Island August 28, 2013
This NOVA episode is about the moai ("giant head" statues) of Rapa Nui. The documentary examines who created the statues, and how they were made, but focuses more on how the huge monuments were transported from where they were carved to where they stand today. Previous hypotheses involved dragging them on sleds or rolling them on logs, but some contemporary archaeologists give credence to oral traditions, which say the moai "walked" to their destinations. The film crew follows a team of scientists as they create a realistic replica of a typical moai, and attempt to use ropes and muscle to "walk" it down a primitive road.

This episode also explores the mystery of what happened to the original inhabitants of Rapa Nui. Archaeologists discuss the evidence of severe environmental degradation and ensuing hostilities, but they discredit the overly-simplistic myth of self-destruction through "ecocide." The commonly-held notion that cutting down all the trees ruined the island--and led the people of Rapa Nui to destroy themselves through cannibalism and civil war--ignores the true complexity of the island's history.

I recommend "Mystery of Easter Island" for anyone with an interest in archaeology, history, or ecology. It is, once again, another excellent documentary from PBS.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Portrayal of What Happened on Easter Island May 13, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This represents a good overview of what happened on Easter Island. It also illustrates good archaeology and how method of the field can be used to gain insights.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Most interesting but not a lot of Easter Island! April 9, 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This is a short doco filmed in Hawaii about how the Easter Island Moais might have been moved. Having visited Easter Island several times I was very interested in the subject matter and was glad to see this disc. It is however very short, and has almost no Easter Island content at all. An excellent rent but overpriced and the Hawaiian experiment made the title a little misleading.
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