Easter Island Origins: Implications of Osteological Findings
A primary objective of the 1981 Easter Island Anthropological Expedition was to acquire a well documented sample of prehistoric Easter Island skeletons, to collect craniofacial metrics and to record observations of nonmetric characteristics (as well as some data on postcranial traits) that would make possible a thorough study of population affinities. The 1981 expedition was highly successful with regard to both the archaeological recovery of well-documented human skeletons and a concurrent field analysis of osteological remains (Gill, Owsley, and Baker 1983; Gill 1986a). During the six-month field season in 1981, plus an earlier brief archaeological field season in 1979, and a few short field laboratory sessions between 1981 and 1991, recovery, curation, full osteometric data collection and a complete inventory of skeletal pathology were accomplished on a sample of 426 prehistoric and protohistoric skeletons. Analysis of another 110 Easter Island skeletons from other museums in North and South America was also accomplished during that same period (Gill and Owsley 1993; Owsley, Gill and Ousley 1994).