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Te Pito Te Henua, or Easter Island, by William J. Thompson, [1891], at


Hundreds of tombs, cairns, platforms, and catacombs were examined during our stay on the island, and in all cases the bodies were lying at full length. In a vault beneath platform No. 11 are a number of skulls packed together in sufficient quantity to completely fill the compartment--trophies of war perhaps, in view of the fact that the skulls were those of adults; but in no single instance did we discover the remains doubled up as the Incas and other American aborigines were in the habit of burying their dead. In the early ages it was the custom to wrap the corpse in dried grass, bound together by a mat made of sedge, and whether laid in platform, cairn, or cave, the body was

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usually laid with the head towards the sea. Succeeding generations substituted tappa or native cloth for the sedge mat, and the present people are sufficiently civilized to prefer rude coffins when the material can be obtained. Cemeteries were located by the missionaries near the churches at Vaihu and Mateveri, and strong efforts made to discourage the burial of converted natives with their heathen ancestors, but they were never able to overcome their aversion to promiscuous interment.

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