When the Universe Was an Island

Exploring the Cultural and Spiritual Cosmos of Ancient Rapa Nui

By Edmundo Edwards and Alexandra Edwards                                                    

Click here to look inside.

    

  

Price: $89.99

 

Order now!

Ready and available for shipping.

 

Product Details

• Paperback: 536 pages

• Illustrations:  117 in  b/w

• Language: British English

• ISBN: 978-956-353-131-2

• Dimensions: 23 x 17 x 4 cm

• Shiping Weight: 1.4 kg / 3 lb 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Motu Hotu Atua, Raivavae  Photo by Alexandra Edwards

Present Projects


As part of our ongoing studies on Pacific archaeoastronomy we are again working with The Pacific Islands Research Institute and the Explorers Club to conform an expedition team to carry out fieldwork in the Federated States of Micronesia in May 2017. Our goal is to identify the stars and constellations that played an important role in the annual cycle of activities on the islands of Kosrae and Pohnpei, and what relationship these may have with the ruins of Nan Madol (Pohnpei) as well as Lelu and Menke (Kosrae). The islands receive an average of less than 5,000 visitors a year, despite being home to three of the richest archaeological sites in Micronesia, hailed as the “Wonders of the Pacific”. Up until the 1600s, the 92 artificial islets of Nan Madol were the ceremonial and political seat of the island of Pohnpei, consisting of a sacred city joined by an intricate network of canals. Architecturally similar structures of similar function are found at Lelu on neighbouring Kosrae.  Menke, also on Kosrae , is a ceremonial site consisting of basalt walls, chambered living quarters, and religious platforms used in the worship of Singlaku, the goddess of breadfruit until 1852, and it is well worth studying whether the site has any features used to mark the different seasons in the Kosraen agricultural cycle. Previous work carried out by astrophysicist and archaeoastronomer Cesar Esteban suggested that two main axes in the tomb sector of Nan Madol may be astronomically oriented to the Pleiades, Orion’s Belt, and the June solstices. Our team would like to investigate these studies further on Nan Madol, and extend our research to the sites on Kosrae. We will be uploading the project proposal very soon.

y

Our second project is to inaugurate the MATARIKI RAPA NUI PLANETARIUM located in none other than Easter Island (a.k.a. Rapa Nui). The project, which was started last year, is now in its last stages of completion, with only a few minor details concerning the facilities of the Planetarium, and the 360° film to be exhibited in the main dome theatre. Several unforeseen expenses have delayed the project by a few months, but it is looking like the Planetarium will be able to open to audiences in late 2016/early 2017. We are delighted to inform that we have been working in collaboration with the multi-talented Yuri Beletsky, astrophysicist and astrophotographer. The images captured by Beletsky will be coupled with a script that sheds light on both Rapanui and Polynesian ethnoastronomy, ranging from creation myths to their unique vision of the cosmos, the knowledge they had of astronomical phenomena, and its practical and spiritual application. Edmundo Edwards aptly writes: “The Planetarium will be the vehicle for this film—a work of art—that will bring to life the essence of the Rapanui ancestor culture, show the beauty of our island, and stir the emotions deep inside the hearts and minds of the spectator. We hope it invokes and inspires those feelings that permeate us when we observe the immensity of the night sky, that which encapsulates our past and future dreams.” To learn more about this project and find out how you can help, please here. We operate in the USA through the Pacific Islands Research Institute (PIRI), which has been classified by the IRS as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, and thus all donations from the U.S. are tax-deductible. We are still accepting donations to complete the project. If this is a cause you would like to support, please contact us directly, or click here to visit the PIRI website.

yy

y

Recent Projects

y

This past year was all about Raivavae, the beautiful high island with a turquoise lagoon in the Austral Islands of French Polynesia. Up until the late 1700s, Raivavae had a flourishing culture that carved large stone statues and built impressive religious structures called marae. Unfortunately, the cultural continuum was lost following First Contact in 1776, and precious little is known regarding the functions and ceremonies performed at these sites, particularly those related to timekeeping and their ancient cycle of activities. So our expedition team spent the whole month of May 2015 collecting ethnographic data and studying the orientations of 48 different marae and shrines on the island, trying determine exactly what was the relationship with these sacred sites and astronomical phenomena commonly used by Polynesians to measure time. Part of our team also had the opportunity to stop at Ra’iatea and Huahine, where we studied the orientation of two marae at the eponymous site of Taputapuatea on Ra’iatea, and 11 chiefly marae on Huahine. The results were fascinating. For the third time, we were the proud carriers of Explorers Club Flag #83. (You can download the full report by clicking on the specific link further below). The results of our expedition were presented in Berlin at the IX International Conference of Easter Island and the Pacific.

y

We are also excited to inform that our documentary from 2006 "Ra'ivavae: the World and History of a Seafaring People" premiered before live audiences at the 3rd Annual Friday Harbour Film Festival on November 6-7-8, 2015, at Friday Harbour, San Juan Island, Washington State. The goal of the festival is to entertain and inspire people to learn more about the marine life & ecology, as well as the cultures and history, of those who live in the greatest ocean of all: the Pacific.

y

If you would like to learn more about either of these activities, please click on the appropriate link:

y

1) The Skyward Path: The orientation of chiefly marae on Ra’ivavae, the Austral Islands,     and Key Ceremonial Sites on Huahine and Ra’iatea, French Polynesia

      Conference Paper

2y

2) The Orientation of Sacred Sites on Raivavae, The Austral Islands, French Polynesia              (Raivavae, May 2015, EC Flag #83

    • Project Report

y
2)  "Ra'ivavae: the World and History of a Seafaring People" (Documentary)                                (Raivavae, June 2006, EC Flag #95 -- link with higher resolution available soon)

     • "Raivavae: The World & History of a Seafaring People," trailer (soon in hi-res)

y

Upcoming Projects

yy

We currently have two different projects to be carried out in the upcoming few years, on Nuku Hiva and the Pitcairn Islands. The project titles are listed below. To learn about what we aim to accomplish during these expeditions, as well as what our research has revealed about these intriguing subjects so far, please click on the appropriate links:

y

1) The Mystery Islands of Eastern Polynesia: The Pitcairn Islands Archaeological Project          (Pitcairn and Henderson Islands, exact dates TBA)

      Project Introduction and Proposal

y

2) When the Skies Spoke: The Archaeoastronomy of Nuku Hiva                                                      (Nuku Hiva, exact dates TBA)

     • An Introduction to Marquesan Archaeoastronomy

     • Project Proposal

y

y

Marquesas 2015 Promo Poster (Digital imaging by Alexandra Edwards)

y

Donations

y

All of our past expeditions have been a success thanks to the contribution of the very generous people who were conscious of the importance of our work and trusted us to deliver exhaustive, informative, and insightful results.  If you are interested in making a donation to the Pacific Islands Research Institute (PIRI), to help us make our present projects a reality, click here. PIRI is a non-profit organization, thus all donations received are tax-deductible under section 501 (c) (3) of the IRS code. Also, all patrons, regardless of their contribution, will receive a downloadable copy of the Expedition Report and professional quality digital images of the island or islands featured in each project. In addition, contributors will also receive a downloadable copy of the project documentary and will be listed in the credits. Donations of over $200 and $2,000 USD each receive their own set of awards and incentives. Click on the Project Proposal links above for more details. 

y

y

Volunteer to Join Our Expeditions Team

y

PIRI is looking for volunteers to help us continue our scientific research in the beautiful and remote islands of Kosrae and Pohnpei of the Federated States of Micronesia. If you would like to join our research team in May 2017, please contact us and we will send you the expedition details and costs (accommodation and airfare, plus a nominal fee whose proceeds are destined to further our work in the above-mentioned projects). We are happy to inform that these costs are tax-deductible. Participants who wish to work with us in the field should be in good health, because this project entail hiking in rugged terrain.  However, if you have any reserves regarding our proposed activities, it is also possible to join our team for lighter work and spend some days touring the island with one of our specialists.   If you have ever wanted to meet and explore the stunning unhampered beauty of the peoples and islands of remote Micronesia, this is your chance to complete your dream. Join our expedition team, which includes some of the most prominent and knowledgeable experts in the area, and make a difference by contributing to projects that are of vital importance to the scientific community as well the local island populations. For more information, contact us directly, or click here to visit the related PIRI webpage. 

y

y

 Our Explorers Club Flag Expeditions Teams, 2006-2013

y

Past Projects

y

Between 2006 and 2013 we carried out four Explorers Club flag expeditions, taking us from the mountainous river systems of the Upper Kariwari region of Papua New Guinea to the high peaks and remote valleys of Nuku Hiva, covering subjects as diverse as the history and culture of Raivavae to Rapanui archaeoastronomy. To learn more about our previous projects and read our expedition reports, click on the appropriate links below:

y

1) The Marquesas Islands Rock Art Expeditionaeological Survey of 1986-1991                            (Hiva Oa and Nuku Hiva, May 2013, EC Flag #56)

     • Project Report

     • Project Webpage

y

 2) Rapanui Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy                                                                          (Rapa Nui, February-May, 2010, EC Flag #83)

     • Project Report

     • Project Webpage

RAPANUI ARCHAEOASTRONOMY 

AND ETHNOASTRONOMY

y

3) Awim and the Hands of Time: The Papua New Guinea Rock Art Expedition                              (Papua New Guinea, May-July, 2008, EC Flag #83)

     • Project Report

     • "Awim and the Hands of Time," trailer for the 2014 Friday Harbor Film Festival

     • "Awim and the Hands of Time," the documentary (Spanish version, sorry!)

     • Project Webpage 

     • "The Meakambut, A Voice from the Past: The Forgotten Hunter-gatherers of PNG"

yyyy

4) Ra'ivavae: The Culture and History of a Seafaring People                                                                (Raivavae, June 2006, EC Flag #95)

     • Project Report

     • "Ra'ivavae: The World & History of a Seafaring People," trailer (soon in hi-res)

     • Project Webpage

     • "The Legend of Hotu Atua and Rua Tara"

yyyy

Thank you for your interest and support. We hope you enjoyed learning more about our work and periodically check this page for updates!!

y

y

Book Launch, 4 September 2013

y

When the Universe was an Island was officially born on 4 September 2013 in Santiago, Chile. Approximately 100 people attended the book launch, including members of the press. We were lucky to have Rapanui musicians Amahiro (Mario Tuki) and Enrique Icka performing for us. They even managed to convince one of our Rapanui guests to go up on stage and perform an impromptu hoko warrior dance with them! Overall, it was a great success. Click on the links below to connect to our Facebook web page and see photos of the event. 

Book Launch Photo Album I 

Book Launch Photo Album II

yPast Projects