on December 21, 2011
The Polynesian settlers that first came to Rapa-Nui (genetic tests on the skeletons found, prove their Polynesian origin) found a lush paradise, filled with life and resources.
The human occupation took its toll on the 170 Km2 Island.
This documentary focus on the investigation of the large underground cave system searching for leads on what happened in paradise.
What they find is refuges, escape routes, weapons...in a closed society in a limited space, tribes fought for the few resources left after the exploitation of nature to build Moais (e.g.) and human settlements. Rapa-Nui is a case-study in a microcosm...what happened there might happen in a global scale.
Obviously the coming of the westerners was the coup-de-grace. Disease and slavery ended a century old civilization. The westerners were intrigued by the statues and found hard to believe the natives could have built such mighty monuments. What they saw was the remnants of an eco-apocalypse and what remained of the proud tribes that lived in a paradise and turned it into Hell.
Good documentary, highly recommended.
on May 7, 2015
In researching for my trip to Easter Island, I'm watching anything I can get my hands on. Unfortunately, there's a lot of TRASH out there. This video, "Easter Island Underworld" is supposed to be a look at a group of cave explorers mapping the caves of Rapa Nui. Instead it is a mess of a video.
For such a new production the "scholarship" is pretty outdated. The timeline set forth is muddled and many facts are inaccurate. (For instance the moai were all standing when the first Europeans arrived - on THREE ships.) National Geographic has even recently presented a video proving the statues were able to be moved in an upright position requiring no trees at all ("Unsolved Mysteries: The Secret of Easter Island.") Interesting that opinions are offered - like rampant cannibalism - but no evidence is presented to support or disprove the theory except that some people believe it to be true. I expect a higher level from National Geographic. And it would have been interesting to actually learn more about the caves. The team's discoveries must not have been sexy enough to make for gripping hour of television so they resorted to recycling a bunch of half-baked theories in place of creating something new and interesting. For those interested in the most current review of actual scholarship about this fascinating island, find the BBC special "Easter Island Mysteries of a Lost World."