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Say it with stone: Constructing with stones on Easter Island

Hamilton, S; Thomas, MS; Whitehouse, R; (2011) Say it with stone: Constructing with stones on Easter Island. World Archaeology , 43 (2) pp. 167-190. 10.1080/00438243.2011.586273.

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Abstract

By considering the stones of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) on a landscape scale, their sources, properties and elemental use in architecture during the statue production period and beyond - from modest ovens to immense statues, a case is made that stone and stones were an essential connective substance of Rapa Nui society. It is posited that stone connected understandings of the land and sea both directly and inversely, that it expressed through colour the sacred status of the ancestors, and that it aligned human life-cycles with the natural lives of stone and stones. Work with stone on Rapa Nui was potentially sacred work and to harvest and move stone required that places and people were linked in face-to-face and hand-to-hand labour. This related to far more than the task of making and sometimes moving colossal statues. Whole beaches or at least their stones were transposed from sea to land and a wide range of land and sea stones were used conjointly to create webs of meaning on an island-wide scale. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

Type: Article
Title: Say it with stone: Constructing with stones on Easter Island
DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2011.586273
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1347580
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