Time and Tide Graphic

1.  Katherine Routledge, The Mystery of Earth Island, Adventures Unlimited Press, Kempton, 1919.
Paul Bahn & John Flenley. Easter Island, Earth Island, Thames & Hudson, London, 1992.


Fig. 87.
“Tower used by Fisherman."
(Katherine Routledge, The Mystery of Earth Island, 1919:218.)

"The food consisted of the usual tropical produce, such as [p.218] potatoes, bananas, sugar-cane, and taro. Animal diet formed a very small part of it, rats being the only form of mammal; but chickens played an important role in native life, and the remains of the dwellings made for them are much more imposing than those for human beings. They are solid cairns, in the centre of which was a chamber, running the greater part of their length; it was entered from outside by two or more narrow tunnels, down which the chickens could pass. They were placed here at night for the sake of safety, as it was impossible to remove the stones in the dark without making a noise {fig. 86}. Fish are not very plentiful, as there is no barrier reef, but they also were an article of diet, and were bartered by those on the coast for the vegetable products obtained by those further inland. Fish hooks made of stone were formerly used, and a legend tells of a man who had marvelious success because he used one made of human bone. The heroes of the tales are also spoken of as fishing with nets. There are in various places on the coast round towers, built of stone, which are said to have been look-out towers whence watchers on land communicated the whereabouts of the fish to those at sea; these contained a small chamber below which was used as a sleeping apartment (fig. 87). Turtles appear on the carvings on the rock, and are alluded to in legend, and turtleshell ornaments were worn; but the water is too cold for them ever to have been common, and Anakena is almost the only sandy bay where they could have come on shore."


Figs. 74-77. "Hare moa, the islanders' chicken houses, were drystone cairns with
small entrances that could be secured with stones at night."
(Paul Bahn & John Flenley. Easter Island, Earth Island, London, 1992:99)


Fig. 164. "Some of the houses in the ceremonial village of Orongo, on the cliff-top
 between Rano Kau and the ocean; their entrances face the ocean."
(Paul Bahn & John Flenley. Easter Island, Earth Island, London, 1992:188)


Figs. 71, 72. "Garden enclosures..."
(Paul Bahn & John Flenley. Easter Island, Earth Island, London, 1992:98)


Fig. 73. "Chicken House"
(Paul Bahn & John Flenley. Easter Island, Earth Island, London, 1992:98)


Fig. 94. “Canoe-shaped House”
(Katherine Routledge, The Mystery of Earth Island, 1919:230.)

"One was pointed out on the north coast as having been put up for an individual, the maternal aunt of our guide, the lady having had the misfortune to be killed by a devil in the night. It was a small structure, ovoidal in shape, 10 feet in length, with a flat top sloping from a height of 9 feet at the end towards the sea, to 4 feet 6 inches at that towards the land; there was beneath it a vaulted chamber for bones.
    Burial cairns, called " ahu poe-poe," were being made in modern times, and a man skilled in their construction was amongst those who were carried off to Peru. The word "poe-poe" is described [p.231] as meaning a big canoe, such as their ancestors came in to the island. It is applied to two types of ahu, one of which is obviously built to resemble a boat; of this kind there are about twelve in the island. One large one (fig. 94) measured as much as 178 feet in length, the width being 20 feet, while the ends, which are made like the bow and stern of a canoe, are about 10 feet to 15 feet in height. The flat top is paved with seaboulders, and is surrounded by a row of the same in imitation of the gunwale of a boat. In one such ahu two vaults were found by us just below the surface with perfect  burials. One was the body of an old man, the other of a woman with a child. Both had been wrapped in reeds, and with the body of the woman were some glass beads. On the surface of the ahu were a few bones, possibly of a body which had been exposed there, but the ahu had apparently been built for the two interments. It is less obvious why the same name, "ahu poe-poe," should be applied to a burial-place which was  wedge-shaped in form. It follows the lines of the image ahu in so far as having a wall towards the sea flanked on the land sides by a slope of masonry. It might be held to represent the prow of a boat, but resembles rather a pier or jetty. Only some six of these were seen, of  which the longest was 70 feet."

Fig. 85. “Diagram of stone foundations, paved area, and cooking place.” 
(Katherine Routledge, The Mystery of Earth Island, 1919:217.)

"Houses, however, did exist, which were built in the form of a long upturned canoe; they were made of sticks, the tops of which were tied together, the whole being thatched successively with reeds, grass, and sugar-cane. In the best of these houses, the foundations, which are equivalent to the gunwale of the boat, are made of wrought stones let into the ground; they resemble the curbstones of a street pavement save that the length is greater. In the top of the stones were holes from which sprang the curved rods, which were equivalent to the ribs of a boat, and formed the walls and roof (figs. 84 and 85)The end stones of the house are carefully worked on the curve, [p.216] and it is very rare to find them still in place, as they were comparatively light, weighing from one to two hundredweight, and easily carried off. Even the heavier stones were at times seized upon as booty in enemy raids; one measuring 15 feet was pointed out to us near an ahu on the south coast, which had been brought all the way from the north side of the island. In the middle of one side of the house was a doorway, and in the front of it a porch, which had also stone foundations. The whole space in front of the house was neatly paved with water-worn boulders, in the same manner as the ahu. This served as a stoop on which to sit and talk, but its practical utility was obvious to ourselves in the rainy seasons, when the entrance to our tents and houses became deep in mud (fig. 84A). Near the main abode was a thatched house which contained the native oven, the stones of which are often still in place. The cooking was done Polynesian fashion: a hole about 15 inches deep is lined with flat stones, a fire is made within, and, when the stones are sufficiently heated, the food, wrapped up in parcels, is stacked within and covered with earth, a fire being lighted on the top.
    Many of the surviving old people were born and brought up in these houses, which are known as "hat& paenga." The old man, for example, before alluded to, who was brought out to Raraku, roved round the mountain telling with excitement who occupied the different houses in the days of his youth. He gave a particularly graphic description of the scene after sundown, when all were gathered within for the evening meal. In addition to the main door, there was, he said, an opening near each end by which the food was passed in and then from hand to hand; as perfect darkness reigned, a sharp watch had to be kept that it all reached its proper owners. He lay down within the old foundations to show how the inhabitants slept. This was parallel to the long axis of the house, the head being towards the door; the old people were in the centre in couples, and the younger ones in the ends. The largest of these houses, which had some unique features, measured 122 feet in length, with an extreme width of 12 feet; but some 50 feet by 5 feet or 6 feet are more usual measurements. They were often shared by related families and held anything from ten to thirty, or even more, persons."

Figs. 68-70. “Foundations of an Easter Island hare paenga, or elliptical dwelling”
(Paul Bahn & John Flenley. Easter Island, Earth Island, London, 1992:97).


"Only stone foundations remain of an old-time dwelling near Hotuiti anchorage. When in use, the house resembled an inverted longboat. Builders fitted wooden poles into the holes, lashed them together in the form of an arch, and covered them with thatch." (Howard LaFay, "Easter Island and its Mysterious Monuments." National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 121, No. 1, January 1960:107)


 [ Large man-made Dock ] (Paul Bahn & John Flenley. Easter Island, Earth Island, London, 1992:143)

17 May 2004. Last updated 11 August 2004.
John. N. Harris
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