Leslie Shaw


The Easter Island Anthropological Expedition, directed by George W. Gill (University of Wyoming), arrived on Easter Island in 1981 with tbe goal of investigating a sample of human burials from both a biological and an archaeological perspective. William Mulloy originally suggested to Gill that they form a joint physical anthropology and archaeology project to investigate the numerous human burials that were becoming exposed due both to human and natural causes. It is unfortunate that Mulloy was unable to see this expedition to the field stage, but his vision and ideas were certainly critical in defining the archaeological aspects of the project. Andrea Seelenfreund and I carried out the archaeological investigation of burial practices, with continued input and assistance from George Gill and Sergio Rapu Haoa. Claudio Cristino, of the Easter Island Research Center, provided valuable information on site locations and characteristics. A total of 21 sites was investigated during the five month field season i 1981. This paper will focus on the patterns of human burial found at nine of these sites - all cave sites located along the Island's south coast (Shaw ms I).