Ancestor worship on Easter Island

Dr. Josefine Huppertz

The results of my research on the cult of the dead in Kambot on the River Keram, a right-hand tributary of the lower Sepik in Papua-New Guinea, confirmed me in the assumption that the huge stone monuments on Easter Island must be sculptures in honour of famous ancestors of the previous inhabitants of the village. From the photographs available to me I was not, however, able to tell whether these stone figures faced on the sea or the land so I went to Easter Island in 1988 and found the stone ancestors, both on the coast and farther inland, looking towards the respective now empty village squares. This is what I had expected.