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Easter Island study enters new phase

16 Feb 2011

A team of archaeologists studying the famous statues dotting the landscape of a tiny Pacific island have been awarded two thirds of a million pounds by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Easter Island excavation
Easter Island excavation

The AHRC award of just over £640,000 will allow project directors Professor Sue Hamilton, from University College London and Dr Colin Richards from The University of Manchester, to continue their groundbreaking study of Easter Island.

AHRC Principal Investigator Professor Hamilton and Dr Richards will continue their task of unravelling the mystery of the stone statues  - or moai -  dotted around the  coastline of the island.

They lead the first British archaeological team working on the island for 90 years.

The project aims to understand  the organisation and meaning of the moai, quarries, transport roads, and stone platforms in an island-wide programme of landscape study, survey and excavation.

They will aim to understand the role of the constructions as part of a complex of activities on the Island  known as Rapa Nui in Polynesian.

The AHRC described the Rapa Nui project as 'an outstanding proposal, meeting world-class standards of scholarship, originality, quality and significance'.

Notes for editors

This is a new phase of the project ‘Rapa Nui: Landscapes of Construction’ a collaboration between
•  UCL
•  The University of Manchester
•  Bournemouth University
•  The Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA) at The University of the Highlands and Islands
•  The University of Chile
•  Susana Nahoe and Enrique Tucki from The Rapa Nui National Parks (CONAF)
•  Francisco Torres H from Easter Island Museum (MAPSE)

For media enquires contact:

Mike Addelman
Press Officer
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790
07717 881567