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Abstract

During late April and early May 1998. I was asked to take part in the filming of a NOVA TV special on Easter Island that examined hand method for moving and erecting moai and duplicated the results achieved by the island's pre-contact Rapa Nui people. Featured was the field test of a scherne developed by a team of researchers at UCLA led by Dr Jo Anne Van Tilburg and previously published by her in Archaeology magazine (Jan / Feb 1995) and the Rapa Nui Journal (Vol. 10:4, 1996). I was to critique her methods as a neutral observer, unfamiliar with Easter Island, but experienced in handling large rocks elsewhere (e.g., with NOVA in Peru, 1994). Also, as a professional alpine guide and mountain rescue expert, I was to devise and field test a technique for safely hand-lowering moai from the quarry cliff onto the gentler slopes below. Finally, based on 15 year in the Andes studying Inca architecture, I was to comment on Heyerdahl's hypothesis of Inca influence in the best-fitted stonework, as exemplified by the ahu at Vinapu I.

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