What did the Rapa Nui do?

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What did the Rapa Nui do?

The Rapa Nui, also known as the people of Easter Island, have been the object of great fascination and mystery due to their ancient statues known as moais. These gigantic stone sculptures have perplexed archaeologists, historians and tourists alike, but beyond these imposing constructions, what did the Rapa Nui really do?

Agriculture and fishing

Despite living on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Rapa Nui managed to develop highly efficient agriculture and fishing techniques. Thanks to their knowledge of the island’s climate and topography, they mainly grew sweet potatoes, taro and sugar cane. To achieve this, they built terraces on the slopes of the volcanoes and used irrigation systems to make the most of the available natural resources.

As for fishing, the Rapa Nui were marine experts. They used wooden rafts called «kainga» and fishing nets made from plant fibers to capture a variety of fish and shellfish that were a fundamental part of their diet.

Crafts and stone carving

Without a doubt, one of the most impressive skills of the Rapa Nui was their skill in stone carving. Although they are primarily known today for moai statues, they also created other stone objects such as petroglyphs, boomerangs, and fishhooks.

The carving of the moais was a laborious and highly specialized process. Using stone tools, the Rapa Nui carved the statues directly into the flanks of the island’s volcanoes. These sculptures were symbols of status and power, and are believed to represent ancestors of royal lineage.

Cult and religion

The Rapa Nui culture was deeply rooted in their religious beliefs. Their religious practices were directed by the «ariki», spiritual and political leaders of the community. The Rapa Nui believed in the existence of spirits and gods, and performed ceremonies and rituals in honor of them.

The moais played an important role in these religious ceremonies. It is believed that they were built to honor ancestors and as connection channels between the world of the living and the dead. The Rapa Nui believed that by building and erecting the moais, they ensured the protection and prosperity of their community.

Discovering the Rapa Nui legacy

Although the Rapa Nui society came to an end due to a combination of environmental and social factors, its legacy lives on today. The moais and other archaeological remains are silent testimonies of the greatness and abilities of this ancient people.

The Rapa Nui culture is a reminder of the importance of caring for and valuing our natural environment, as well as the human ability to adapt and develop even in the most remote places in the world. The history of the Rapa Nui continues to intrigue us and invites us to continue exploring and discovering more about this enigmatic people.

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