The Rapa Nui culture of Easter Island may be the most enigmatic and unexplained historical topic ever studied. This advanced society is probably best known for its monolithic statues, which were called Moai by the natives. Despite the culture?s peaceful and artistic beginning, it soon experienced a near collapse. Although there are many theories explaining the downfall of Easter Island culture, scientific evidence has shown that the islanders? sacred Moai may have played an important role in the demise of the Rapa Nui culture.
To understand how and why the culture collapsed, its origin must be briefly examined. There is much controversy over the origin of the original inhabitants of Easter Island. One theory, which seems to be used often to describe odd occurrences on the island, is that extra terrestrials may be responsible. Another theory is that Easter Island is the remains of the lost continent of Atlantis. Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian explorer popularized the idea that South Americans traveled to the island by boat and founded the culture.
His reasoning for this theory is that the Moai are quite similar to other Incan stonework, but after extensive archaeological, ethnographic, and linguistic research this was proved invalid.
This South Pacific island is over two thousand miles from its nearest neighbors, Chile and Tahiti. This distance gap makes Easter Island the most isolated place on the planet. Even the Rapa Nui people noticed this fact, and they named the island ?Te Pito O Te Henua,? or, ?The Navel of the World.? This makes it somewhat difficult for people to believe that anyone could have traveled by boat to this island.
Island legend tells of a heroic man named Hotu Matua escaping his home island with his family after being defeated in war. They landed on the shores of the island,