The paintings of Ana Kai Tangata cave, Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

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2013-10-01
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Lee, Georgia
Horley, Paul
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27
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2
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Based on our detailed analysis of the historic photographs and watercolors of Ana Kai Tangata cave, we have made a tentative reconstruction of the entire painted panel as it might have been in the beginning of the 20th century, featuring a larger number of birds. Surprisingly, there are numerous depictions of historic ships – second only to the birdman village of ‘Orongo – suggesting that at a certain time in history, the islanders may have considered the European visitors as messengers from the other world, arriving and disappearing to the ocean in a similar seasonal cycle as the migrating birds. This parallel may have been reinforced by the seasonality of ship callings at Easter Island, which occurred with a considerable prominence around the Austral spring and autumn, approximately at the time of the birdman ceremony and half a year after it.
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Easter Island, Rapa Nui
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