The evolution of "hyper-locality" on Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Author(s): Terry Hunt; Carl Lipo

Year: 2015


The archaeology and prehistory of Rapa Nui (Easter Is.) reveals a paradox. Despite the island’s diminutive size and the lack of natural barriers preventing social interaction, prehistoric populations on the island show patterns of "hyper-locality." Evidence from ancient human genetics and multiple artifact classes show significant co-variation with space on an enigmatically small scale. Such spatial autocorrelation is likely explained by the structure of interactions in the context of Rapa Nui’s environment; however, it is unclear why such localized interaction would be so prevalent on such a small island. We explore conditions leading to the evolution of "hyper-locality" and consider the implications for Rapa Nui and beyond.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

The evolution of "hyper-locality" on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Terry Hunt, Carl Lipo. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396319)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;