Books: At the Navel of the World

MYSTERIES OF EASTER ISLAND by Francis Maziere. 224 pages. Norton. $6.95.

An Athens in Antarctica might be easier to explain than the riddling ruins on Easter Island. More than 2,000 miles from the coast of Chile, still farther from the reefs of Tahiti, Easter is the world's most isolated islet: a tiny (45.5 sq. mi.) blob of wind-scraped lava jutting from the gray Pacific like a roost for passing frigate birds. Yet on its stony surface, dozens of enormous statues, known in local dialect as modi, stand and stare. Some of them rear up to a height of 40 feet; many of...

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