Recent archaeological work on Rapa Nui has challenged the widely held assumption that the bulk of prehistoric subsistence was derived from coastal locations. Early coastal plain surveys (Englert 1974; McCoy 1976) had cataloged thousands of archaeological features and sites, including the structural remains of ahu (religious platforms) and moai (statues), along with elite and non-elite residences, and walled planting enclosures called manavai. The later survey of Cristino, et al. (1981) showed, however, that structures and agricultural features were by no means exclusive to the coastal regions of the island, but were in-fact also spread throughout the interior of the island. Similar features as those found around the exterior were recorded and analyzed, but unrecognized throughout the island was a type of agricultural garden based around the deliberate surface coverage of stone fragments.
Baer, Alexander; Ladefoged, Thegn N.; Stevenson, Christopher M.; and Haoa, Sonia
"THE SURFACE ROCK GARDENS OF PREHISTORIC RAPA NUl,"
Rapa Nui Journal: Journal of the Easter Island Foundation: Vol. 22
, Article 5.
Available at: https://kahualike.manoa.hawaii.edu/rnj/vol22/iss2/5