ARCHAEOASTRONOMER, DIRECTOR, & CO-FOUNDER
Edmundo’s passion for archaeology started when he was 12 years old and discovered a pre-Incan site in northern Chile, yet it was after visiting Rapa Nui in 1957, that he became enthralled by Rapanui culture and returned to the island in 1960 with archaeologist William Mulloy. Edmundo has lived and worked in Polynesia ever since. In 1977 he co-founded the Centro de Estudios de Isla de Pascua where he carried out archaeological and ethnographic studies for the University of Chile until 1985. He then left for Tahiti, conducting archaeological surveys and leading restoration work in the Society, Marquesas, and Austral Islands until he returned to Rapa Nui in 1994. Edmundo has since then devoted himself to the scientific study and preservation of the archaeology and culture of the Pacific islands. He is the co-founder of the Pacific Islands Research Institute (PIRI) and co-owner of Archaeological Travel Service (ATS). Edmundo is an active member of the Explorers Club and in 2011 he was honoured with the Lowell Thomas Award for his exceptional contribution to human knowledge through his valuable research and discoveries in Polynesia, and in 2016 he received the Citation of Merit.
ARCHAEOASTRONOMER & CO-FOUNDER
Barthelemy was born in Belgium, but has lived in Latin America for over 45 years. He is a Civil Engineer, with a Master'´s degree in Senior Management in Defense and Aerospace Development, as well as a doctorate in environmental science and sustainable development. Barthelemy is the founder and current president of the Peruvian Institute of Astronomy and Space Sciences. He is also the founder and manager of the María Reiche planetariums in Nasca, Majoro, Ica, Arequipa Colca and Cusco-Sacred Valley in Peru, as well as founder and director of the Mayan Planetarium in Chichen Itza, Mexico. In addition, Barthelemy is a Professor of Andean Cosmovision and Traditional Crafts. His academic activity and array of interests have led him to write and participate in dozens of television specials in addition to writing numerous articles in the field of astronomy, astrophysics, and particularly archeoastronomy is a member of the Inter-American Society of Cultural Astronomy (SIAC). He has not only contributed to this project with his academic expertise, but his experience in designing and installing planetariums as well as the production of film scripts in full dome format specific for planetariums.
Enzo has been interested in astronomy since he was boy, but as a profesional he studied Engineering and for 15 years he worked in management in the food industry, biotechnology, and cosmetics. Searching for new challenges, he obtained a degree in Maths Education and is now a maths and physics teacher on Rapa Nui, also leading the Kohu Ra’a (Solar Eclipse) astronomy workshop, which has won 1st place in the 6th Scholastic Astronomy Congress (University of Concepcion) and 1st place in the EXAEQUO Science in Action (Internacional Astronomical Union) in Alcoil, Spain. He was invited to participate in the 5th Summit of Astronomy Promulgation (Universidad de La Frontera) in Temuco, Chile and in the VII Interamerican Seminar of Astronomy in Culture (Universidad de la Serena).
Rock Art has always been one of Vanessa’s great interests, but at the end of 2018, after working on Rapa Nui and befriending the local people, she has dedicated herself to studying Rapanui rock art and its association to ethnoastronomy. The main objective of her college thesis was registering, valueing, and incentivationg the conservation of this invaluable manifestation of Rapanui heritage. Vanessa is now working on her masters degree at the Catholic University of Chile, taking an even deeper look into this subject. She is also in a voyage of discovery of her own art, applied to paintings, drawings, 2D animation, as well as creative writing.
RESEARCHER IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY
Alexandra has been been living and working on Rapa Nui for 20+ years. She has participated in six Explorers Club Flag expeditions and contributed to several documentary projects by National Geographic, the BBC, CNBC Canada, and others. She is the co-author of When the Universe was an Island: Exploring the Cultural and Spiritual Cosmos of Ancient Rapa Nui, a comprehensive volume about the ethnography, mythology, and history of her beloved Rapa Nui. Alexandra currently works on projects that shed light on the life and times of Pacific island cultures, showing a keen interest in ancient ethnoastronomy, mythology, and religion. Alexandra complements her research by working aboard expedition cruise ships lecturing about her favourite parts of the world: South America, Oceania, and SE Asia.
Mara has worked with Edmundo Edwards, her husband and lifelong partner, since the mid-1980s. She has participated in over a dozen archaeological projects and expeditions, surveying and recording material and ethnographic data all across the Pacific, from her native Rapa Nui to the remote Kariwari region of Papua New Guinea. She has worked extensively in the Marquesas, Australs, and Society islands, and has participated in two Explorers Club Flag Expeditions. Mara has not only proven to be an excellent fieldworker, but she is great at managing the team. Mara is also the logistics manager of Archaeological Travel Service (ATS), a premium cultural tour operator in Chile and Polynesia of which she is the co-proprietor. It would be hard to find a more dedicated, meticulous, cheerful, and caring person than Mara to be part of our team.
ASTRONOMER & ASTROPHOTOGRAPHER
Born in Belarus, Yuri now lives in Chile, where he works as an astronomer at the Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory located south of the Atacama desert. Yuri’s scientific research has been published in leading astronomical journals worldwide, however astrophotography, particularly nighttime photography, is now one of Yuri’s greatest passions. Yuri has been an enthusiastic stargazer since childhood, and he now specialises in taking images of the night sky, wide-field panoramas of the Milky Way, and other natural astronomical phenomena. Yuri’s images have received international recognition and appear in various popular books, magazines, websites, and on TV. Yuri is an active contributor to NASA APOD, having more than 30 images featured on the NASA website. He continually shares his passions for astronomy and astrophotography with people around the world.
TAKUANA BÓRQUEZ PAOA
GRAPHIC ARTIST, ILLUSTRATOR, & PAINTER
Takuana is one of the illustrious sons of Rapa Nui, having achieved international recognition for his paintings and drawings, which have been featured in several books and magazines worldwide. In addition, he is one of two Rapanui artists who year after year paint the large mural that serves as a backdrop for the annual Tapati Festival, the most important celebration on Rapa Nui today. Takuana has also worked as a commercial illustrator and his images have been featured in the labels, advertisements, signs, posters, merchandising products, and displays of several local businesses, as well as in the storefronts of Santiago, Chile. He lives with his young son and wife, also an artist, in a quiet neighbourhood in the main town of Rapa Nui in a unique little house with wooden furniture and other features, which he himself has designed and crafted.