Easter Island tourists are ‘disrespecting’ ancient statues with nose-pick selfies

0
65


That’s according to an archaeologist, who also slammed some of the 150,000-strong “mob” of visitors for climbing on the statues, sitting on graves and trampling all over preserved spaces.

Jo Anne Van Tilburg warned the fragile ecosystem and archaeology on Rapa Nui, more commonly known as Easter Island, was under threat from the influx of tourists.

She said: “I am troubled by the lack of genuine tourist interest in the island and its people. There is a lack of genuine appreciation for the Rapa Nui past.”

Easter Island, a Chilean territory, is a remote volcanic island in Polynesia.

In the early 1980s, around 2,500 people visited the island every year. In 2018, that number was closer to 150,000.

Van Tilburg suggested many tourists’ main aim was to snap a comedy picture with one of the 900 statues.

She added: “By Rapa Nui standards, on an island where electricity is provided by a generator, water is precious and depleted, and all the infrastructure is stressed, 150,000 is a mob.”

The statues were carved and transported by hand by the ancient Easter Island people. Stone ‘hats’, or “pukao”, weighing several tons, were placed on each one.

However, the island’s aboriginal inhabitants mysteriously fled before Western missionaries arrived in the 18th Century.

The question of how they managed to transport the statues has baffled experts for years.

As part of the Easter Island Statue Project, archaeologists from the University of California found that the statues’ bodies are buried beneath them, measuring up to 33ft high.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here