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Easter Island, Rapa Nui, Pukao, Moai, Prehistory, Polynesia


Structure from motion (SfM) mapping is a photogrammetric technique that offers a cost-effective means of creating three-dimensional (3-D) visual representations from overlapping digital photographs. The technique is now used more frequently to document the archaeological record. We demonstrate the utility of SfM by studying red scoria bodies known as pukao from Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile). We created 3-D images of 50 pukao that once adorned the massive statues (moai) of Rapa Nui and compare them to 13 additional pukao located in Puna Pau, the island’s red scoria pukao quarry. Through SfM, we demonstrate that the majority of these bodies have petroglyphs and other surface features that are relevant to archaeological explanation and are currently at risk of continued degradation.

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Advances in Archaeological Practice



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