The dressed stone manufacturing technology of Rapa Nui: A preliminary model based on evidence from the Rano Kau, Maunga Tararaina, and Ko Ori quarries

Date
2014-10-01
Authors
McCoy, Patrick C.
Contributor
Advisor
Department
Instructor
Depositor
Speaker
Researcher
Consultant
Interviewer
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Volume
28
Number/Issue
2
Starting Page
Ending Page
Alternative Title
Abstract
Purposefully shaped building stones, also known as dressed or cut stones, were used in various parts of Polynesia, but nowhere was the craft as fully developed as Rapa Nui (Easter Island), where quarried stones called paenga were commonly used in the construction of ceremonial platform (ahu) walls and in the foundations of houses called hare paenga occupied by chiefs and priests. The cultural origins of the dressed stone technology of Rapa Nui has been the subject of considerable debate because of the similarities between some of the finest examples on the island and mortarless block masonry in the Andean highlands of South America. Virtually nothing is known, however, about the manufacturing technology, including the primary sources of stone, reduction strategies and sequences, the methods and tools used in the manufacturing process, the social status of the stone cutters, and the mechanisms involved in the distribution of dressed stones. In an effort to redress this problem, data from five dressed stone quarries, recorded on the southwestern end of the island in 1968, are used in developing a preliminary model of the manufacturing process. The data from these quarries, combined with archaeological and ethnographic information on the varied utilitarian, symbolic, and ritual uses of dressed stones, suggest that paenga manufacture may have developed at some point in its history into a craft specialist “industry” involving production for exchange. The ethnographic period socio-political context of the five quarries suggests that they may have been under the control of one clan, the Marama, except for the summit area of Rano Kau, where multiple clans may have had open access to what appears to have been one of the best sources of building stone on the island.
Description
Keywords
Easter Island, Rapa Nui
Citation
Extent
Format
Geographic Location
Time Period
Related To
Rights
Rights Holder
Email libraryada-l@lists.hawaii.edu if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.