Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Weapons of war? Rapa Nui mata'a morphometric analyses

  • Carl P. Lipo (a1), Terry L. Hunt (a2), Rene Horneman (a1) and Vincent Bonhomme (a3) (a4)
Abstract
Abstract

Traditional explanations of Rapa Nui history invoke environmental degradation and warfare to explain the ‘collapse’ of the island's social and economic structure. One element in these reconstructions are the stemmed obsidian points known as mata'a, which some have envisaged as spearheads produced in the context of endemic warfare. Morphometric analysis shows, however, that mata'a were not specifically designed for interpersonal violence but were general purpose tools that may have been used for peaceful tasks such as ritual scarification. This discovery provides further evidence against the theory of the violent collapse of Rapa Nui society.

Copyright
References
Hide All
BahnP. & Flenley J.. 1992. Easter Island, Earth Island. London: Thames.
BalfourH. 1917. Some ethnological suggestions in regard to Easter Island, or Rapa Nui. Folklore 28: 356–81. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0015587X.1917.9719007
BolltR., Clark J.E., Fisher P.R. & Yoshida H.K.. 2006. An experiment in the replication and classification of Easter Island mata'a . Rapa Nui Journal 20: 125–33.
BonhommeV. 2012. A graphical introduction to Momocs and outline analysis using R. Available at: http://www.vincentbonhomme.fr/Momocs/vignettes/ (accessed 2 November 2015).
BonhommeV., Picq S., Gaucherel C. & Claude J.. 2014. Momocs: outline analysis using R. Journal of Statistical Software 56: 124. http://dx.doi.org/10.18637/jss.v056.i13
BooksteinF.L. 1982. Foundations of morphometrics. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 13: 451–70. http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.es.13.110182.002315
BooksteinF.L., Chernoff B., Elder R.L., Humphries J., Smith G.R. & Strauss R.E. 1985. Morphometrics in evolutionary biology: the geometry of size and shape change, with examples from fishes. Philadelphia (PA): Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
BorkH.R., Mieth A. & Tschochner B.. 2004. Nothing but stones? A review of the extent and technical efforts of prehistoric stone mulching on Rapa Nui. Rapa Nui Journal 18: 1014.
ChurchF. 1998. Upland, lowland, citizen, chief: patterns of use-wear from five Easter Island sites, in Christopher G.L., Stevenson M. & Morin F.J. (ed.) Easter Island in Pacific context. South Seas Symposium. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Easter Island and East Polynesia: 312–15. Los Osos (CA): Easter Island Foundation.
ChurchF. & Ellis G.. 1996. A use-wear analysis of obsidian tools from an Ana Kionga. Rapa Nui Journal 10: 8188.
ChurchF. & Rigney J.. 1994. A microwear analysis of tools from site 10–241, Easter Island—an inland processing site. Rapa Nui Journal 8: 101105.
DiamondJ. 1995. Easter's end. Discover 9: 6269.
DiamondJ. 2005. Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed. New York: Viking.
DunnellR.C. 1978. Style and function: a fundamental dichotomy. American Antiquity 43: 192202. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/279244
EyzaguirreE.R.-T. (ed.). 2004. Easter Island: the first three expeditions. Easter Island: Rapanui.
FlenleyJ. & Bahn P.G.. 2003. The enigmas of Easter Island: island on the edge. New York: Oxford University Press.
GunzP. & Mitteroecker P.. 2013. Semi-landmarks: a method for quantifying curves and surfaces. Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammology 24: 103109.
HaedoF.G. de. & Roggeveen J.. 1908. The voyage of Captain don Felipe González, in the ship of the line San Lorenzo, with the frigate Santa Rosalia in company, to Easter Island in 1770–1. Cambridge: Hakluyt Society.
HeyerdahlT. 1989. Easter Island—the mystery solved. London: Souvenir.
HeyerdahlT. & Ferdon E.. 1961a. Reports of the Norwegian archaeological expedition to Easter Island and the East Pacific. Volume 1. London: Allen, Unwin.
HeyerdahlT. & Ferdon E.. 1961b. Reports of the Norwegian archaeological expedition to Easter Island and the East Pacific. Volume 2. London: Allen, Unwin.
HuishR. 1839. A narrative of the voyages and travels of Captain Beechey, to the Pacific and Behring's straits; performed in the years 1825, 26, 27 and 28. For the purpose of co-operating with the expeditions under Captains Parry and Pranklin, and of Captain Back, R.N., to the Thlew-ee-choh River & the Arctic Sea, in search of the expedition under Capt. J. Ross, R.N., being the conclusion of the series of voyages instituted for the discovery of the North West Passage. Southwark: W. Wright.
HuntT.L. & Lipo C.P.. 2006. Late colonization of Easter Island. Science 311: 1603–606.
HuntT.L. & Lipo C.P.. 2008. Results of the 2008 Rapa Nui field survey. Unpublished report, on file at the P. Sebastian Englert Museum, Hanga Roa, Isla de Pascua.
HuntT.L. & Lipo C.P.. 2011. The statues that walked. New York: Simon & Schuster.
IngersollD.W. & Ingersoll K.B.. 2013. Art of distraction: rocking the farm, in Lundy B.D. (ed.) The art of anthropology/the anthropology of art: 2364. Knoxville (TN): Newfound.
JonesK. 1981. New Zealand mataa from Marlborough, Nelson and the Chatham Islands. New Zealand Journal of Archaeology 3: 89107.
KeeganJ. 1993. A history of warfare. New York: Vintage.
KendallD. 1989. A survey of the statistical theory of shape. Statistical Science 4: 8120. http://dx.doi.org/10.1214/ss/1177012582
LeeG. 1992. Rock art of Easter Island: symbols of power, prayers to the gods. Los Angeles: Institute of Archaeology, University of California.
LipoC.P. & Hunt T.L.. 2009. AD 1680 and Rapa Nui prehistory. Asian Perspectives 48: 309–17.
LipoC.P., Hunt T.L. & Hundtoft B.. 2010. Stylistic variability of stemmed obsidian tools (mata'a), frequency seriation, and the scale of social interaction on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 2551–61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2010.05.015
LipoC.P., Hunt T.L. & Haoa S.R.. 2013. The ‘walking’ megalithic statues (moai) of Easter Island. Journal of Archaeological Science 40: 2859–66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2012.09.029
MétrauxA. 1940. Ethnology of Easter Island. Honolulu (HI): Bishop Museum.
MétrauxA. 1957. Easter Island: a Stone Age civilization of the Pacific. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
MorrisonA. 2012. An archaeological analysis of Rapa Nui settlement structure: a multi-scalar approach. PhD dissertation, University of Hawai‘i.
MulloyW. 1961. Ceremonial center of Vinapu, in Heyerdahl T. & Ferdon E. (ed.) The archaeology of Easter Island (Monograph of the School for American Research 24): 93180. Oslo: Kon Tiki Museum.
MulrooneyM.A. 2012. Continuity or collapse? Diachronic settlement and land use in Hanga Ho‘onu, Rapa Nui (Easter Island). PhD dissertation, University of Auckland.
MulrooneyM.A., McAlister A., Stevenson C.M., Morrison A.E. & Gendreau L.. 2014. Sourcing Rapa Nui mata'a from the collections of Bishop Museum using non-destructive pXRF. Journal of the Polynesian Society 123: 301–38. http://dx.doi.org/10.15286/jps.123.3.301-338
R Core Team. 2015. R: a language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
RainbirdP. 2002. A message for our future? The Rapa Nui (Easter Island) ecodisaster and Pacific island environments. World Archaeology 33: 436–51. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00438240120107468
RasmussenM.J. & Hafez M.M.. 2010. Terrorist innovations in weapons of mass effect: preconditions, causes and predictive indicators. Workshop Report. The Defense Thread Reduction Agency, Advanced Systems, Concepts Office, Washington, D.C.
RoutledgeK. 1919. The mystery of Easter Island: the story of an expedition. London: Praed Sifton.
SkinnerH.D. 1958. Some recent publications relating to Easter Island culture and its probable history. Journal of the Polynesian Society 67: 248–51.
StevensonC.M. & Cardinali S.H.. 2008. Prehistoric Rapa Nui: landscape and settlement archaeology at Hanga Ho'Onu. Los Osos (CA): Easter Island Foundation.
StevensonC.M., Ladefoged T. & Haoa S.. 2002. Productive strategies in an uncertain environment: prehistoric agriculture on Easter Island. Rapa Nui Journal 16: 1722.
ThatcherM. 1989. Speech by Margaret Thatcher to United Nations General Assembly (Global Environment) 11/8/1989. Available at: http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=2712&ArticleID=9462&l=en (accessed 02 November 2015)
ThomsonW.J. 1891. Te pito te henua; or, Easter Island. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
ThompsonD.W. 1917. On growth and form. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.11332
TorrenceR., Swadling P., Kononenko N., Ambrose W., Rath P. & Glascock M.D.. 2009. Mid-Holocene social interaction in Melanesia: new evidence from hammer-dressed obsidian stemmed tools. Asian Perspectives 48: 119–48. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/asi.0.0014
TorrenceR., Kelloway S. & White P.. 2013. Stemmed tools, social interaction, and voyaging in early–mid Holocene Papua New Guinea. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 8: 278310. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15564894.2012.761300
von SaherH. 1990. Some details from the journal of Captain Bouman on the discovery of Easter Island. Rapa Nui Journal 6: 3439.
WilmshurstJ.M., Hunt T.L., Lipo C.P. & Anderson A.. 2011. High-precision radiocarbon dating shows recent and rapid initial human colonization of East Polynesia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 108: 1815–20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1015876108
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary Materials

Lipo supplementary material
Figure S3

 Unknown (787 KB)
787 KB
PDF
Supplementary Materials

Lipo supplementary material
Lipo supplementary material 1

 PDF (222 KB)
222 KB
UNKNOWN
Supplementary Materials

Lipo supplementary material
Figure S1

 Unknown (473 KB)
473 KB
UNKNOWN
Supplementary Materials

Lipo supplementary material
Figure S4

 Unknown (268 KB)
268 KB
UNKNOWN
Supplementary Materials

Lipo supplementary material
Figure S2

 Unknown (2.0 MB)
2.0 MB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 19
Total number of PDF views: 73 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1124 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.