The Other Mystery of Easter Island
Moai statues Easter Island is branded into popular consciousness as the home of the mysterious and towering moai statues, but these are not the only curiosity the South Pacific island holds. Where the moai are fascinating for their unknown purpose and mysterious craftsmen, the island's lost language of Rongorongo is equally perplexing. The unique written language seems to have appeared suddenly in the 1700s, but within just two centuries it was exiled to obscurity. Known as Rapa Nui to the island's inhabitants, Rongorongo is a writing system comprised of pictographs. It has been found carved into many oblong wooden tablets and other artifacts from the island's history. In 1864, Father Joseph Eyraud became the first non-islander to record Rongorongo. Some time later, Bishop Florentin Jaussen of Tahiti attempted to translate the texts. Thompson was determined, however, and decided that Ure Va'e Iko might be more forthcoming under the influence of alcohol. An Indus valley connection?