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Nova: Mystery of Easter Island

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Easter Island 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, 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.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 8, 2013
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009B0L4O6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,505 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Chandler on 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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
I love Nova, and normally they have great shows, so I was expecting to see well-researched show using scientific and archeological evidence, demonstrating a real plausible explanation that I would believe on "Easter Island mysteries." The show starts out on how they have scientific evidence that could upset all the prior theories on how Maoi statues were moved, as though this show uncovered a better explanation, they were moved in a way not previously known before. This peaked my curiosity, as I figured they must have uncovered new archeological evidence, but ultimately I would learn that they did not. This Nova episode solely focused on these one scientists who just wanted to prove their thoery of how they thought the Moai could have been moved over land while in an upright position, but they ignore other known evidence that would disprove it. It was almost all just about testing the scientists building a replica to test their engineering hypotheses, of "if it could mechanically work." I kept watching because I thought since Nova always has well-researched shows, they may have discovered something new still, to take this hypothesis further, but then the scientists claimed their theory was based entirely on the premise, that the method of travel for moving the statues, was by using "ancient roads." They then show these scientists surveying the island and so basically infer they are the first to do that, and so discovered the "ancient roads," but not only were they not the first to survey the island, it has already been clearly established that the "roads" they think they found, are irrigation canals, so would have been filled with water.Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Nice footage, informative. I did not expect so much of the video to about how they re-created moving the statues, but still it was informative.
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