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Scientists are studying roads once used by ancient Easter
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Scientists are studying roads once used by ancient Easter Islanders

May 7, 2010
Scientists are studying roads once used by ancient Easter Islanders to move multi-ton stone figures to the coastline where they now reside.

More about this Image Charlie Love, a geology professor at Western Wyoming Community College (WWCC), along with a crew of 17 students from WWCC and the University of Wyoming, archaeologists and islanders, spent two summers working and conducting research on Easter Island. Together they cleared and excavated sections of road.

The research helped to supply important details on Easter Island's prehistory, including understanding the labor force necessary to create 30 miles of roads on an island only 12 miles long; the integration of labor and motivation to carve, move and place multi-ton statues all across the island; the magnitude of the ecologic catastrophe these desires ultimately created; and the timing of the resulting equilibrium between food production, birth rates and warfare.

This research was funded in part by two grants from the National Science Foundation's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR, for the state of Wyoming. A brief article about this research appeared in the December 2000 issue of Discovering Archeology, a magazine published by Scientific American. [See additional reference: NSF grant number EPS 99-83278.]