Now this is something serious. Easter Island’s inhabitants have been accused by the Western academicians about bringing their own collapse by exploiting the natural resources. A new view by a British scientist says the opposite. An archaeologist from the University of Manchester, Dr. Karina Croucher believes it was westerners who brought disease, exploitation and slavery which put paid to the ancient civilization.

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The serene faces of Easter Island have always jarred with the preception of
their creators who were said to have caused their own downfall through
infighting and over exploitation of natural resources.

Now one researcher believes the artworks of the island paint a different
picture of the islanders – a peace loving race in harmony with nature and
each other.

Dr Karina Croucher from The University of Manchester believes that looking at
the artwork as a whole shows a self-sufficient population at peace with
itself and nature.

The archaeologist’s research backs a growing body of opinion which casts new
light on the people living on the island of Rapa Nui, named “Easter Island”
by its discoverers in 1722.

“Easter Islanders’ ancestors have been unfairly accused by Westerners of being
primitive and warlike, for toppling statues – or moai – and for
over-exploiting the island’s natural resources,” she said.

“They were a people who saw themselves as connected to the landscape, which
they carved and marked as they did their own bodies and the moai statues.

“These people must have had a sophisticated and successful culture – until the
Westerners arrived – and it is time we recognise that.

Dr Croucher believes that it was westerners bringing disease, exploitation and
slavery which put paid to the ancient civilisation.

“Rather than a story of self-inflicted deprivation, I agree with the view that
substantial blame has to rest with Western contact, ever since Easter
Island’s first sighting by Jacob Roggeveen in 1722.

“Visitors brought disease, pests and slavery, resulting in the tragic demise
of the local population and culture.

“There is little archaeological evidence to support the history of internal
warfare and collapse before contact with the outside world.”

Easter Island’s 19th Century history is a sad one: slave raids in 1862 reduced
the Island’s population A few islanders survived slavery and were returned
home, bringing with them small pox and other diseases.

The missionaries converted the remaining population to Christianity,
encouraging them to abandon their traditional beliefs.

Even then, several hundred inhabitants were driven off the island to work on
sugar plantations in Tahiti. By 1877, a population of just 110 people was
recorded.

“The statues and rock art, although difficult to date with certainty, are the
result of a population which flourished on the island until outside contact
set the tragic course for the Island’s demise,” she said.

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