Hoa Hakananai’a in British Archaeology
The new British Archaeology contains the first printed report on our study of the great Easter Island statue in the British Museum. The feature makes a great spread, and the results are really interesting.
I wrote about our work in the BM at the time here and here. Now the analyses are well advanced. In March James Miles gave a presentation about the technology of the survey (using photogrammetry and RTI in news ways) at the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology conference in Perth (see session 30 here). In British Archaeology we focus on the what we can see on the statue. The key points are:
- Contrary to popular belief, the statue was not made for a coastal platform, but always stood in the ground where it was found on top of a 300m cliff
- When it was half-buried by soil and food debris, small designs known as komari, representing female genitalia, were carved on the back
- At a later date the whole of the back was covered with a scene showing a male chick leave the nest, watched by its half-bird, half-human parents – the story at the heart of the island’s unique birdman ceremony, recorded in the 19th and early 20th centuries
- In its present plinth, the statue leans slightly to one side
You can read the case for this, and more, in the magazine. You can find it online and in the Apple store; the printed magazine goes out to members and subscribers today, and will be in the shops on Friday.
And watch the video here.