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War Didn’t Cause The Collapse Of The Easter Island Civilization


One of the most enduring mysteries of the ancient civilization that flourished in Rapa Nui, Chile, beginning in the 13th century is the cause of its collapse. The theory that many scientists believe and propagate involves massive infighting among the inhabitants caused by dwindling resources. This theory is supported by the thousands of triangular objects known as mata’a that are found all over the island. Scientists believe that these objects were used as weapons by the inhabitants.

However, a new analysis of the mata’a by anthropologist Carl Lipo of Binghamton University and his team revealed that these so-called triangular weapons were not “used in warfare after all.”

They arrived at this controversial conclusion after using a technique known as morphometrics to analyze “the shape variability of a photo set of [more than 400] mata’a.” According to Lipo, the mata’a were used by the inhabitants not as weapons but as cultivation tools for domestic activities or tattooing.


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