Archaeology •  Architecture and Art

$45.00 hardcover

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Easter Island's Silent Sentinels: The Sculpture and Architecture of Rapa Nui

Kenneth Treister
Patricia Vargas Casanova
Claudio Cristino

2014 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

It may be the most interesting and yet loneliest spot on earth: a volcanic rock surrounded by a million square miles of ocean, named for the day Dutch explorers discovered it, Easter Sunday, April 5, 1722. Here people created a complex society, sophisticated astronomy, exquisite wood sculpture, monumental stone architecture, roads, and a puzzling ideographic script. And then they went about sculpting amazing, giant human figures in stone.

This richly illustrated book of the history, culture, and art of Easter Island is the first to examine in detail the island’s vernacular architecture, often overshadowed by its giant stone statues. It shows the conjecturally reconstructed prehistoric pole houses; the ahu, the sculptures’ platform, as a spectacular expression of prehistoric megalithic architecture; and the Easter Island Statue Project’s inventory of the colossal moai sculptures.

This publication is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.


Kenneth Treister, FAIA, architect, photographer, author, and sculptor of the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach, Florida, has published in over fifty professional journals, written six books, and produced four documentaries on architecture, including Mystery of Easter Island (1990).

Patricia Vargas Casanova and Claudio Cristino, archaeologists, anthropologists, professors, and founders of the University of Chile’s Easter Island and Oceania Studies Centre created the island’s archaeology survey of over twenty thousand archaeological sites and were awarded the international Explorers Club prestigious Lowell Thomas Award (2011) for their life’s work on Easter Island.


“Beautifully illustrated. . . . For the first time under one cover, this volume provides the full scope of the architectural and sculptural landscape of the island.”



“Superbly illustrated. . . . A well-written book that offers the subject matter expertise and style of a photo history as well as a source book. Much information is packed into this volume, which covers a long history of discovery, settlement, and art mixed with the mystery of the collapse of a culture that disappeared into the sea, but not without first leaving a spectacular architectural wonder on the land. . . . This book is recommended to the general reader and to those who wish to know more about spiritualism, art, architecture, and cultural values of another time, place, and people that shroud the mysteries on Easter Island and the ruins at Rapa Nui.”


Colonial Latin American Historical Review

8.5 x 11 in. 160 pages 122 color photos, 15 drawings, 5 maps