Monday, August 1, 2011

Easter Islanders Were Sophisticated Gardeners

The Austronesian transoceanic colonists who settled Easter Island are famous for being excellent open water navigators and sailors who were capable of making monumental rock figurines that mystify us today.

It now appears that they also employed advanced agricultural methods designed to combat dry soil and winds and infertile soils, by shielding gardens from the wind, creating air turbulence in gardens with broken rocks, and extracting (knowingly or unknowingly) plant nutritional minerals from broken rocks placed in gardens. Absent these innovations, their civilization surely would have collapsed much sooner.

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