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Abstract

The prehistory of Rapa Nui presents us with a paradox. On an extremely isolated island with limited resources and uncertain fluctuations in climate and agricultural productivity, the pre-contact population of Rapa Nui invested huge amounts of effort into monumental architecture and statuary (see Hunt and Lipo 2001). The per capita investments in such monuments likely stand as the greatest anywhere in the ancient world. These remarkable achievements are set against a backdrop of dramatic environmental change and biotic degradation

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