Quantifying Energy Investment in Monuments (Ahu) on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Using Structure from Motion Mapping
Pre-European contact Rapa Nui (Easter Island) society is well-known for its substantial investment in monumental architecture, including over 300 platforms (ahu) and almost 1000 statues (moai). Recent theoretical and empirical research on the island suggests that ahu and moai were focal points for competitive and cooperative signaling by relatively small-scale communities dispersed across on the island. Evaluation of this hypothesis, however, requires the measurement of the amount of energy invested in the construction of these monuments and comparing these values to the relative quality of resources supporting local communities. Despite the significant amount of research directed towards Rapa Nui’s monuments, we currently lack accurate, precise, and comprehensive estimates of monument size. To fill this gap, we used UAV-based photography and structure-from-motion photogrammetric tools to create scaled high-resolution, 3D representations of ahu. With these 3D models, we calculate volume estimates and use these values to derive energy investment estimates for each ahu. Using these data, we explore spatial patterns in energetic investment within and between local communities.
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Quantifying Energy Investment in Monuments (Ahu) on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Using Structure from Motion Mapping. Robert J. DiNapoli, Terry L. Hunt, Carl P. Lipo. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442627)
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min long: 153.633; min lat: -51.399 ; max long: -107.578; max lat: 24.207 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21878