The ancient settlers of Rapa Nui (Easter Island, in Chile) built their famous Ahu monuments near freshwater coastal sources, according to a team of researchers, including professors from Binghamton University and the State University of New York, in U.S.
The island of Rapa Nui is known for its elaborate ritual architecture, in particular for its numerous statues (moai) and the monumental platforms that supported them (ahu). Scientists have wondered why the ancients built these monuments in their respective places around the island, considering how much time and energy it took to build them.
A team of researchers, including the anthropologist at Binghamton University, Carl Lipo, used a quantitative spatial model to explore the potential relationships between ahu construction sites and subsistence resources, such as agricultural orchards, marine resources and water sources. sweet, the three most critical resources in Rapa Nui. Their results suggest that the locations of the ahu are explained by their proximity to the island's limited fresh water sources.
"The issue of water availability (or the lack of it) has often been mentioned by researchers working in Rapa Nui / Easter Island," says Lipo. "When we started to examine the details of hydrology, we started to note that access to fresh water and the location of the statues were closely linked. "
"It was not obvious when walking around, we did not necessarily see obvious water indications, but when we started looking at the areas around ahu, we found that those locations were exactly linked. in places where fresh groundwater emerges, largely as a diffuse layer that flows to the water's edge. The more we look, the more consistently we saw this pattern, "he says.
He adds: "The places without ahu / moai did not show fresh water, the pattern was surprising in its consistency, even when we found ahu / moai in the interior of the island, we found nearby sources of drinking water." This document reflects our work to demonstrate that this pattern is statistically sound and not just our perception. "