The Lost Gods of Easter Island

2000 ,    »  -   22 Comments
Ratings: 7.78/10 from 58 users.

The Lost Gods of Easter Island is a BBC documentary written and presented by David Attenborough. It explores the history of the civilization of the remote Easter islands. Attenborough embarks on a personal quest to uncover the history of a strange wooden figurine carving which turned up in an auction room in New York during the 1980's.

The auction catalogue indicated that the carving was from Easter Island and the auctioneers told him that the sculpture had come from a junk-shop dealer in Pennsylvania. He knew that the, "grotesque head, attached to a body grossly elongated and as thin as a stick," was more important than the auctioneers believed it to be and had such presence and power that he bought it.

He began an investigation to trace the origins of the artifact -- an investigation that spans the globe and leads him on voyages to Russia, Australia, England, the Pacific, a Tahiti beach and finally to one of the most remote places on earth; and 15 years later, in a personal detective story that combines art, anthropology, and history traces the origin of the carving and in doing so tells the story of a forgotten civilization and of a people who inhabited one of the most remote places on Earth.

22 Comments / User Reviews

    Charles B.
  1. Charles B.

    Pretty good detective work by David Attenborough. He recycles parts from the beginning of the documentary (quite a bit) on the end, but gets to the ending soon enough. Well worth watching if you like cultural history and investigation.

  2. Dr. Dunkleosteus
  3. Dr. Dunkleosteus

    Yeah, I thought it started over again at the end, but it wrapped up nicely.

    Great documentary. I knew most of the things discussed, but the wooden figures were new to me.

    More David Attenborough docs please!

  4. Amir Bengali
  5. Amir Bengali

    Great Documentary...
    Very Informative
    Thanks For Posting It

  6. morlann
  7. morlann

    fascinating, really enjoyed this one!!!!

  8. Brock
  9. Brock

    This one seemed a bit out there, hard to believe everything presented.

  10. Xtn
  11. Xtn

    Ha ha, you burks. The youtube video is re-linked to the last section, thats the reason it seems like it repeating itself.

    Apart from that good documentary, loved it.

  12. boyet
  13. boyet

    There was a movie entitled "The Naked Island" documenting the life of the people of the Easter Island, their rituals, and the reason behind the lost of trees. It was made and shown during the 90's.

  14. boyet
  15. boyet

    Search "Rapa Nui" movie and download the torrent...

  16. gero2006
  17. gero2006

    I don't have a t.v. - which is why I watch documentaries online - and had not seen David Attenborough in years. How old he is! It was so moving to see him in his old age (he must be 80+ ???) speaking in a mellow way about this sacred object - clearly as sacred to him as it may have once been to its makers. Touching.

    Those watercolour paintings from Cook's expedition look like they were painted yesterday - so fresh. That's excellent rag paper. Not like the woodpulp stuff we produce these days. I was thinking that there is probably no other trace of the seaman who drew those images left in the world... Maybe his descendents don't even know he drew them... Sad.

    I was thinking though that it would be good if these uniquely important artefacts of Easter Island history, owned by Sir David, the British Museum, the St Petersberg Ethnographic Museum, could be returned to Easter Island...

    Another thought, could DNA be recovered from the wood and this now extinct species of tree be brought back to life and replanted on Easter Island? (Maybe a bit too much to hope but one can still dream. And since humans drove the tree to extinction we are morally bound to bring it back if we can...)

  18. Coyote03
  19. Coyote03

    INCREDIBLE documentary, what a scientist, I had never heard anything more about Easter Island then the giant statues known as Moai, incredible to see such craftsmanship on those wooden statues! Really fascinating!

  20. Mary
  21. Mary

    Informative. Answered questions I had about Easter Island. Really enjoyed it!

  22. Doc
  23. Doc

    Wow you just got to love Sir Attenborough! Very good documentary

  24. boblawblaw
  25. boblawblaw

    Echhh! Attenborough again. Lord help us...what a bore. Kidding, of course. You Brits love to bitch and moan when a commentator doesn't measure up to your high standards, so I thought I'd join in.

  26. Hardd
  27. Hardd

    A little known fact that a lot of people don't know is that the Easter Island Heads were Made in China .... They found it was better to 'Out-souse' the actual caving and have them shipped to the Island.

  28. dae1600
  29. dae1600

    A great commentary on what humans do to any environment they are placed in. We are like weeds that are accidentally introduced and then take over and destroy the resources around us and simply move on.

  30. Victor
  31. Victor

    Sir Attenborough is a real master of documentary! Thoroughly enjoyed the film! Thanks everyone who made it!

  32. hannah
  33. hannah

    i love this

  34. Margie
  35. Margie

    dae1600 compares humans to weeds. Since I was a child, I have likened humans to fleas on the back of a dog sucking away its life giving blood. Morbid thought, but despite the native's idoltry of the Gods, wouldn't you have thought they'd at least have the foresight to build canoes with the remaining trees and set them aside for when they were needed? Talk about painting yourself into a corner.....

  36. Phil Freihofner
  37. Phil Freihofner

    One of Attenborough's bests. For those how doubt any of the facts presented, I'd like to recommend the "Easter Island" chapter of Jared Diamond's sequel to "Guns, Germs, and Steel," his book "Collapse: How societies chose to fail or succeed".

  38. dweo
  39. dweo

    they should return the items to Rapa Nui they are the propert of Polynesians not westerners

  40. Bosco
  41. Bosco

    This was an amazing rich. I find The Easter Island story so compellingly fascinating. The isolation, the environmental degradation, later the wholesale enslavement of the people by slavers, the statutes. Well done, David!

  42. stephen adamo
  43. stephen adamo

    one thing i expected to read in the comments but haven't is that what the host thought were the eyes were his ears. the statues smile went from ear to ear. the face was correct and the earlobs matched the drawing of a native whos earlobs were altered. why he thought they were the eyes i just dont get it

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