But then the tree pollen declined, and flecks of charcoal appeared in the peat core indicating that the forests had been burnt, presumably by man.
We desperately need more reliable radiocarbon dates, particularly for the overthrow of the statues and for the activities on Orongo.
We will be amending this account as and when any scholarly consensus begins to emerge.
The dates for the decline of tree pollen, and therefore the first settlement, began around AD 900, or possibly a couple of centuries earlier.
The erection of statues was in full swing by AD 1200 and the collapse came around AD 1500.
They then went on to analyse the dates of the first settlements for the whole of the Pacific, concluding that it was largely colonised in three separate waves, and that the third wave, includes both New Zealand and Easter Island and Hawaii, was as late as AD 1200. Islands of East Polynesia, summarizing the two phases of migration out of West Polynesia (blue shading): first to the Society Islands (and possibly as far as Gambier) between A. ∼10 (orange shading), and second to the remote islands between A. The dates for Easter Island cannot possibly be earlier than the dates of the colonisation of the other islands, Tahiti, Tuamotu and the Society Islands which must have been stepping stones for the settlers of Easter Island.