PO BOX 2627




When I nominated Edmundo Edwards, Claudio Cristino and Patricia Vargas Casanova for the distinguished Lowell Thomas Award given annually by The Explorers Club based in New York, I did so with fingers crossed.  I could not imagine anyone more qualified relative to the 2011 theme “Exploring the Worlds Greatest Mysteries”.   So, I was delighted that they were indeed recognized for their significant achievements in fieldwork and research not only on Easter Island, but also throughout Polynesia. From The Explorers Club announcement;



Edmundo R. Edwards, FI ‘90,

Patricia Vargas Casanova,

Claudio P. Cristino, FI ‘90

The enigmatic statues that stand on the shores of Easter Island have fascinated people for centuries. Edmundo Edwards, Patricia Vargas Casanova and Claudio Cristino have spent their lives delving into the age-old mysteries of their creation, use, context and meaning.

I cannot imagine anyone more deserving of the recognition that the Lowell Thomas award brings, especially in light of the theme of this years event is to reflect upon the world’s greatest mysteries.  Claudio and Patricia first extensively surveyed Easter Island along with Edmundo in the 70’s locating every known ancient structure related to the long lost culture. This survey map has been an essential tool to every researcher since.

Edmundo has lived on Easter Island for 40 years is married to a local Rapanui woman and has dedicated his adult life to revealing the islands many mysteries.   Their combined research has encompassed not only Easter Island but also much of Polynesia.  Whenever I have traveled with Edmundo, from the Marquesas, Tuamotus, to the Australs, he is always warmly greeted as a long lost friend by those whose lives he touched by not only his research efforts in or near their villages but also his genuine warmth and generosity.  Edmundo was recently a featured speaker at an Archeoastronomy conference in Lima, Peru.  He was featured in a CBC TV series “Story in Stone”. Claudio has been featured in a couple Nat Geo documentaries about Easter Island.

One of their truly remarkable accomplishments; and alone should qualify them.  Claudio, Patricia led along with Edmundo’s assistance the restoration of the Ahu along with 15+ Moai of one of the wonders of the ancient world and world heritage site,


They all have worked and surveyed on Raivavae in the remote Austral group, where Edmundo has published the only record of its extensive archaeological sites.

Currently they are planning an expedition to Pitcairn Island home of the remaining ancestors of the Bounty mutineers, to survey and record the ancient Polynesian culture that lived on Pitcairn before the mutineer’s arrival.

We are currently seeking a publisher for Edmundo’s book “When the Universe was an Island”, he wrote in Spanish his native language and his daughter Alexandra is translating it.  The book is about the history of the people of Easter Island and the little known Archeoastronomy of Easter Island. It’s importance relative to the planets and stars, the related structures they built and cultural traditions.

Claudio and Patricia have written an exhaustive book based on their extensive research on the history of Easter Island, published by the Un of Chile.   Unfortunately it is only found in Spanish.  We are seeking a USA publisher of this book as well.

Combined both separately and together as a team they have completed extensive research throughout the far reaches of Polynesia, Tahiti, the Marquesas, Raivavae and Papua New Guinea.  All 3 of them have surveyed, studied, researched, taught and lectured at the University level and aboard expedition ships and tour groups that visit Easter Island on all the aspects of Polynesian and Easter Island culture.  Patricia and Claudio are on the faculty of the Un. of Chile.  Patricia is currently a senior professor at the Easter Island and Oceania Studies Centre and member of the Academic Evaluation Committee of the same Faculty (FACSO).

Because of these remarkable individuals tireless dedication to their work, and research, their efforts have greatly expanded our knowledge of the ancient culture and given us a deeper understanding of the mysteries of Easter Island.   Jointly and individually they have lived, walked, surveyed and researched Easter Island more than any other group of field researchers.  They are each individually well beyond qualified for the important and prestigious Lowell Thomas award.  In addition; Claudio recently has taken on the extra task of reviving the South American chapter of TEC.

I formed our non-profit Pacific Islands Research Institute specifically to support and fund their on going research and help in the USA any way I can.  I am now requesting donations to be made to our organization to help fund their next project on Pitcairn Island April 2012, (our estimate cost of the expedition is $165,000).  Anyone interested helping us significantly fund this project may request a copy of the proposal currently under review by the Pitcairn Island Government, they are very excited about our project.


I am also raising funds to assist them with their significant travel expenses to accept the Lowell Thomas Award in St Louis on Oct. 15 and to give a lecture Oct 17 in NYC at The Explorers Club.  I am also hoping for invitations from New York members to house them when they arrive in NYC.  The tentative plan is to stay in NYC from Oct. 16-23.  They are available individually or together for lectures in the area during that time.  Any donations can be made through our web site, just click on the justgive button.  To save us the 3% fee a check can be sent directly to Pacific Islands Research Institute, PO Box 2627, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, or you may call me directly at 360-472-1050 with your CC# and I can charge it on our own Charge Card machine. All donations are fully tax deductible!!   I also have available to anyone that donates in excess of $100 a PPT on a CD that better illustrates why this team of dedicated field researchers deserves this important recognition. It features many photos of their fieldwork on Easter Island and Polynesia.

I also have available to anyone that donates in excess of $100 a PPT on a CD that better illustrates why this team of dedicated field researchers deserves this important recognition. It features many photos of their fieldwork on Easter Island and Polynesia.  The purchase of any of the silkscreens depicted in the newsletter also qualify as a tax deductible donation.  Please let me know if you prefer your donation to go towards a specific purpose or researcher.


Submitted by Capt. Lynn Danaher MN’05, President, PIRI, email;

Categories: Newsletter, Press Release

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