moai at rano raraku  The Resilience of Easter Island

   A Historical Ethnography by Sebastiaan Roeling

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Sebastiaan Roeling near the coast of Easter IslandAbout the author

Sebastiaan Roeling was born in 1980 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. During the holidays his family used to travel to countries along the Mediterranean. It was here where his interest in other cultures developed. As a boy his grandfather told him many stories about the Dutch explorers like Abel Tasman, Willem Barentsz and Jacob Roggeveen. The story about the discovery of Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in 1722 by Roggeveen fascinated him the most and he started to dream about being an explorer himself.

During a vacation to Yucatán, Mexico, he visited a Maya village near Campeche and it was here where he decided to follow an education in anthropology, the nearest thing to an explorer of the Dutch Golden Age. The next ten years, Sebastiaan devoted his life to study the Lacandón Maya in the Chiapas rainforest after which he published his much-acclaimed Shadows of Bonampak. He acted as a consultant for projects of UNICEF Belgium and the BBC. Back home he worked for an environmental agency in Rotterdam. He continued his environmental work in the famous historical city of Delft and specialized in environmental crisis management. Currently he works as senior supervisor and coordinator of environmental crisis management at an environmental agency in The Hague.

At the beginning of 2012, Sebastiaan started to prepare a study trip to Easter Island. In March 2013 he finally set foot on Easter Island to start his research. His education in anthropology and professional career as environmentalist seemed to be the perfect combination for his research at Easter Island. He is especially thankful for the fact that his wife and children were able to accompany him during this research.

Sebastiaan Roeling is married to Monique. Together they have three children: Emma (2008), Valentijn (2010) and Victoria (2014).


Emma at Tongariki Valentijn in Ana Kai Tangata near Mataveri
Emma poses as the lost moai at Ahu Tongariki. Valentijn is studying the petroglyphs in Ana Kai Tangata.


Copyright © 2015 Jkr. Dr. Sebastiaan Eduard Markus Roeling