[ExI] BBC Easter Island documentary

Alfio Puglisi puglisi at arcetri.astro.it
Thu Feb 13 14:19:08 UTC 2014

On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 2:34 PM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 12:48 PM, Alfio Puglisi  wrote:
> > Interesting video. But after watching it, I proceeded to re-read the
> chapter
> > about Easter Island on Diamond's "Collapse" book, written in 2005. It
> > describes everything shown in the video, and many more details, in the
> end
> > supporting the traditional view of overpopulation and environmental
> > collapse. The video goes to great lenghts to refute the accuse of
> > cannibalism, which is horrorific to us but no big deal for other
> > populations, and is in the end just a side note on the whole story. The
> only
> > thing displayed even more prominently is the narcissism of the
> > protagonist... he's omnipresent in the shoots.
> >
> >
> The presenter, Jago Cooper, is a well-credentialled archeologist
> presently working for the British Museum as Curator of the Americas in
> the department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. He has many
> published papers.
> I think he is explaining the latest research findings, which seem to
> contradict Diamond's 'Just so' story. A native population being
> destroyed by contact with Europeans through disease, slavery and
> invasion has happened many times elsewhere.
> <http://britishmuseum.academia.edu/JagoCooper>
> Cooper is much involved in popularising archaeology through television
> and has done several programs. I wouldn't worry about him appearing a
> lot in the video. Most of the time he is talking and explaining
> something. Attenborough has been appearing in nature documentaries for
> 70 years!

I was not trying to criticize him, sorry if I gave that impression. It's
just that it was the most lasting impression that I took from the video :-)

It seems to me that both (Cooper and Diamond) agree that disease and
slavery took a heavy toll on Easter's population, Diamond uses exactly this
argument to support the theory of a huge population (20,000 inhabitants or
more) in pre-European contact times, in the face of drastically reduced
census numbers (about 2,000) not even a century after that.

I guess the exotic vacation is in order... who's joining?


> The long video is no longer available, but there are a few short clips
> here:
> <http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03srmm6/clips>
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