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Abstract

In recent publications (Hunt and Lipo 2006; Hunt 2006, 2007) we have presented a detailed and comprehensive analysis of new and existing archaeological information as it relates to the date of Rapa Nui's colonization, the island's ecological transformation and the assumed relationship to "collapse." After reviewing published dates and our results at 'Anakena, we came to the conclusion that although it is conceptually possible that humans arrived on the island many hundreds of years prior to AD 1200 , there is currently no empirical support for believing this was so. Until unequivocal evidence emerges for earlier colonization, our understanding of the island's prehistory must be founded on a shorter chronology of about 800 years.

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