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Abstract

All places are to some extent imaginary, built up in the public mind from images selected and transmitted by an articulate few. Regarding Rapa Nui, imaginations have worked overtime. Scores of popular articles, books, and films represent Rapa Nui as remote and mysterious. One might well construct a few archetypal sentences to get the point across: "Mysterious stone heads gaze across the barren plains of the remotest island in the world;" or, "On this most isolated inhabited island in the Pacific, the remote expressions of the stone-carved statues guard their mysteries." And many other variations of such twaddly purple prose.

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