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Exploring the Mysteries of World Heritage Sites: Easter Island

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Exploring the Mysteries of World Heritage Sites: Easter Island

Evening Program (Session 3 of 4-Session Course)

Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0063C
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.


There are 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world. Each of them offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. Some, however, are more mysterious than others. Historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of four of the most intriguing—and sometimes misunderstood—UNESCO World Heritage sites, including both well-known and lesser-known locations. Each richly illustrated program goes far beyond the typical tourist experience by incorporating the insights of the latest scholarship and research.

Jacobs is an associate professor of history at American University and the author of several books, including The Compensations of Plunder: How China Lost Its Treasures. He is currently producing a 24-episode series on UNESCO World Heritage Sites for The Great Courses.

Session Information

Easter Island

The instantly recognizable moai statues of remote Easter Island pay silent tribute to the extraordinary seafaring skills of Polynesian migrants and their inventive stewardship of an ecologically fragile island. The rediscovery of Easter Island by Western explorers in the modern era has given rise to spirited debates about how its original settlers were able to reach such a distant location, how they were able to carve such large and mysterious statues, and how these statues were transported. Jacobs draws on the latest scholarship and theories to explain how these giant statues came to dominate the most remote inhabited island in the world.

Additional Sessions

If you are interested in additional World Heritage Sites sessions this fall, view the upcoming schedule:

Patron Information

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