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) is a system of glyphs discovered in the 19th century on Easter Island that appear to contain writing or proto-writing.
Numerous attempts at decipherment have been made, none successfully.
This 15-meter tree, known as "Pacific rosewood" for its color and called mako‘i in Rapanui, is used for sacred groves and carvings throughout eastern Polynesia and was evidently brought to Easter Island by the first settlers.
The classical inscriptions can be arranged in two groups according to the height of the lines (10–12 mm vs.Fischer describes P as "a damaged and reshapen European or American oar", as are A (which is European ash, Fraxinus excelsior) and V; notes that wood from the wreck of a Western boat was said to have been used for many tablets; and that both P and S had been recycled as planking for a Rapanui driftwood canoe, suggesting that by that time the tablets had little value to the islanders as texts.The fact that the islanders were reduced to inscribing driftwood, and were regardless extremely economical in their use of wood, may have had consequences for the structure of the script, such as the abundance of ligatures and potentially a telegraphic style of writing that would complicate textual analysis.It is a primitive imitation of rongorongo." The forms of the glyphs are standardized contours of living organisms and geometric designs about one centimeter high.The wooden tablets are irregular in shape and, in many instances, fluted (tablets B, E, G, H, O, Q, and possibly T), with the glyphs carved in shallow channels running the length of the tablets, as can be seen in the image of tablet G at right.