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Abstract

To speak about Rapa Nui is absolutely impossible without referring to the most spectacular feature of its culture, the gigantic stone statue or moai, as they are commonly termed now. They fascinated not only the first Europeans who saw them in 1722 and all subsequent visitors, but also absorb most attention, imagination and effort in every respect up to this day. Their spectacular size, technical achievement and artistic style and standard justify, beyond the least doubt, the attention paid to them. On the other hand, the almost exclusive devotion of means and energy to the problems of the making, lifting and transport of the big stone statues led to an overemphasis on archaeology and an understandable if lamentable propensity towards the solution of mere technicalities. This still prevailing tendency, however justified it may be or appear, hindered discoverers, adventurers, settlers and even investigators from paying the same or, at least, half as much attention to the whole range of other, just as important aspects of Rapa Nui culture.

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