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


Among some outcropping rocks near by, a cave was accidentally discovered, with a mouth so small that an entrance was effected with difficulty. Once inside, however, it branched out into spacious chambers that could shelter thousands of people with comfort. It bore evidences of having been used in former years as a dwelling-place, and probably had other entrances and extensions which we failed to penetrate for the

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want of time. Human remains were found in this cave, but all very old.

The caves of Easter Island are numerous and extremely interesting in character. They may be divided into two classes: those worn by the action of the waves, and those due to the expansion of gases in the molten lava and other volcanic action. The process of attrition is in constant progress around the entire coast-line, and the weaker portions of the rock are being undermined by the incessant beating of the ocean. Some of these sea-worn caves are of considerable extent, but generally difficult of access and affording little of interest except to the geologist. The caverns produced by volcanic agencies are found throughout this island, and some were traced through subterranean windings to an outlet on the bluffs overlooking the sea. They are generally quite dry; the rain-water falling upon the surface occasionally finds its way between the cracks or joints in the solid rock, but these gloomy passages and chambers lack grandeur from the entire absence of stalactites and deposits of carbonate of lime. No glistening and fantastical forms of stalagmitic decorations exist here to excite the fancy and create in the imagination scenes of fairy-like splendor. The feeble rays of our candles were quickly absorbed by the somber surroundings, heightening the apparent extent and gloom of the recesses. Careful investigation proved that all of the caves visited had been used as dwelling-places by the early inhabitants.

Platform 18 deserved more attention than we were able to give to it, the facing-stones having been torn front their original position in the structure and lying scattered about as though thrown down by some great convulsion of nature. Some of them show evidences of having been ornamented with rude figures carved on the hard rocks; but the approach of sundown hastened our steps toward Motukau Point, where we could see the flags flying over our camp. The day's march had been exceedingly fatiguing on account of the rugged nature of the ground and the absence of water, but the last mile or so was accomplished at a swinging pace in view of the fact that the camp could not be reached after darkness had closed in. Our course had been around Cape North, and covering the territory between the coast and the base of Rana Hana Kana. Loose bowlders of every imaginable shape and size cover the ground, threatening sprained limbs and broken bones at every incautious step, as though the expiring energy of the volcanoes had been expended in creating this natural barrier.

Camp Day, named in honor of our commanding officer, was located in a district known as Vai-mait-tai (good water), but it was decidedly a misnomer, the supply being ample, but brackish and ill-smelling. After a hearty meal of mutton, prepared by our guides in true island style, we sought shelter under the lee of an outcropping rock, fatigued enough to sleep through the attacks of myriads of noxious insects and regardless of the passing showers of rain.

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