Easter Island: Reconstructing the Failure of a Civilization

800 532 Stroud Water Research Center

The collapse of the once thriving human population on Easter Island has been largely attributed to environmental degradation, but questions still remain regarding the causative factors. Our study will determine the sequence and timing of the collapse of humans, seabirds, forest trees and soils by detailed dating and analysis of sediment cores from bogs for DNA, pollen, charcoal, soot, and fecal steroids.

Funded by: The Marsden Fund, New Zealand

Principal Investigator: Anthony K. Aufdenkampe

Collaborators: Troy Baisden (Institute for Geological and Nuclear Science, New Zealand), Mark Horrocks (Microfossil Research Ltd.), John Flenley (Massey University, New Zealand)

Project Years: 2009, 2010