Thursday, 18 August 2016
Line Islands, Pacific
L all in a heap now, more structured in times past], called marae or ahu in other parts of the Pacific as well as humbler domestic dwellings. All of these structures were in ruins but the sites showed that a group of engineers had lived on the island for a substantial time in the distant past. Perhaps the dwellers on Malden were not as sophisticated as those on Eiao or Easter Island, but they clearly had a complex social structure and economy. The wells which appear to be contemporaneous with the above ground structures are now either dry or contaminated with sea-water. Maybe there was a more substantive fresh-water lens under the surface and its failure led to the demise of the community. Is it too wild to speculate that the people sucked the lens dry and so screwed their descendants? That would be a potent metaphor for what we are collectively doing to the whole planet.