||INTRODUCTION: OUR RAPA NUI FIELD SCHOOL PROGRAMS
In 2010 (31 May to 24 June), the University of Hawai`i will offer an archaeological field school. The field school will take place on the famous and remote island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the farthest reaches of Polynesia.
Rapa Nui, located 3,700 km west of South America and 2,250 km southeast of Pitcairn, is among the world's most isolated places. The island is only 164 square kilometers, but boasts magnificent megalithic sculptures, rock art, and remarkable structural remains. The prehistoric people of Rapa Nui produced over 800 massive statues and moved nearly 400 of them to distant locations over the entire island. The statues, along with other features of the island's prehistory, have engendered much archaeological speculation and research. The archaeology and natural history of this small, isolated, and famous island have drawn a great deal of attention, yet few people actually get to visit this remarkable place.
Our field research will be conducted on ancient habitation and related sites on various parts of the island. Our research areas contain a wealth of well-preserved remains, including prehistoric statues (moai) and ceremonial platforms (ahu), boat-shaped houses, habitation caves, agricultural features, and several other site forms. Our field work will document these sites with archaeological field survey, detailed mapping, and limited excavations. Students will work directly on these sites and learn multiple aspects of cutting-edge field methods.
GETTING THERE AND BACK
Students will travel either from Honolulu or Los Angeles to Rapa Nui via Tahiti (French Polynesia) or Santiago, Chile.
Students spend their time on Rapa Nui engaged in archaeological fieldwork that requires intensive, hands-on training complemented by regular lectures and group discussions. In addition, we will have multiple field trips to visit the numerous, indeed famous, archaeological sites on the island. Students will have ample opportunity for other activities, including hiking, horseback riding, swimming, Polynesian dance (watching or learning), and sightseeing.
Students and staff reside at a simple locally-owned hotel in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui's only town. Meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) with associated clean up are provided at the hotel. Our accommodations have showers, flush toilets, and other basic comforts. Limited services are available in Hanga Roa.