The revisionists, led by archaeologists Carl Lipo of California State University and Terry Hunt of the University of Hawaii, argue that this superior society never existed.
The Rapa Nui culture, Dr Lipo says, was wiped out after Europeans arrived, bringing epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases, TB, dysentery and leprosy. Illness, enslavement and land theft reduced the population from an estimated 3,000 to just 111 by 1877.
In their new book, The Statues that Walked: Unravelling the Mystery of Easter Island, to be published in June, Dr Lipo and Professor Hunt present their evidence that Polynesian colonists arrived in 1200, up to 800 years later than the conventional theory claims, and immediately modified the environment with slash-and-burn agriculture. ht NC.
It seems more a matter of degrees than a solid argument from two polar opposites. That Easter Island was a marginally habitable environment is not much in question. The current population is around 4,000 but I am sure a lot of that is tourist supported, and requires inputs from outside the island. In any case blaming the West for all possible problems is always going to be popular in some circles.