Expedition to Mata Nui
Expedition One to Mata Nui
"The Haunted Island of Oceana"
June-July 2001

Team Leader: Dr. Charles M. Boswell, Ph.D.
Oceana Chair Emeritus of Anthropology,
Croaker College of Archaeology,
Watson University, Ojai, CA, USA

Assisted by:
Dr. Lana Livingstone, Ph.D.
Manet de LaCourt
Ephrom Childs
Michelle Jarzombek

Rock Faces
Totem rocks with similar faces dot the island. These well-preserved specimens are from the northern desert region.
Table of Contents:

  1. Expedition Overview

  2. Island recent history & facts

  3. Log Highlights

  4. Conclusion
    • Settlements
    • Non-human remains
    • Masks, masks, masks
    • Technology
    • Conflict


A small team of two professors and three archeology and anthropology students from Ojai, California, USA became interested in the nearly-forgotten island of Mata Nui, commonly referred to as the "Ghost Island of Oceana" (although it is not technically affiliated with the island nations that comprise Oceana). Much research on the Internet and through technical and trade documents revealed surprisingly little hard information about this uninhabited desert island, located several hundred miles SW of its better-known but smaller cousin island Rapa Nui ("Easter Island").

Mata Nui (the term is Polynesian and means "Big Eyes") has apparently suffered very few incursions from modern man. Published reports roughly described "large mask-like structures" carved into cliff faces, small pillars tumbled haphazardly, and ancient fossils that hint at an advanced culture. Also prominent in each of the rare descriptions were mentions of a black, obsidian-like rock material scattered throughout the island that were cold to the touch and instilled dread in those who handled the material.

Satellite PhotoThe Ojai team, led by Dr. Boswell, successfully arranged a 45-day expedition to unravel the secrets of this puzzling island. The team left San Diego, CA on June 10, 2001 and spent 8 days traversing the thousands of miles to the South Pacific on the transport ship Roggeveen. A Land Rover, power generator and fuel, computers, surveying equipment, archaeological tools, several tents, two portable Quonset huts, food, water, and other supplies accompanied the team. A short stop at Rapa Nui's only town of Hanga Roa for topping off food and water, and interviewing some of the local people, followed by the brief journey to Mata Nui, were the only interruptions to a final landing on the northeastern shore of Mata Nui on June 20, 2001. Primary camp was established and the surveying began. Once the transport ship left, the team was effectively stranded for a month and a half, until the Roggeveen returned. A small satellite phone and a shortwave radio were the team's only outside contact.

Over the expedition's 45 days, the team's charter included:

  • Creating an accurate map of the island
  • Discovering, mapping, and excavating prominent archaeological sites
  • Cataloging, photographing, and measuring as many artifacts as possible
  • Proving or disproving reports of eeriness, dread, or fear commonly associated with shards of the common obsidian-like material scattered around the island
  • Piecing together information on any prehistoric or ancient cultures and peoples
  • Reconciling local Polynesian myths regarding Mata Nui with current conditions on the island
  • Publishing the findings in a reputable venue
  • Setting the stage for a possible follow-up expedition

Key Discoveries

During the expedition, the team made a number of remarkable discoveries:

  • The ruins were far older than previously anticipated: millennia rather than centuries
  • Fossil evidence indicates a highly advanced civilization that lived in concert with their multitude of environments
  • Masks were apparently an integral part of life for all inhabitants.
  • The island sported a wide array of flora and fauna that have since disappeared
  • An unparalleled diversity of climates held sway over the small island: desert, jungle, volcanoes, and even a glacier!
  • Confirmation of the highly unusual (apparent) thermotropic nature of obsidian-like shards
  • Diminuitive inhabitants of the island lived peacefully for some time, which was later interrupted by some type of island-wide conflict. Indications of cooperation between natives leaves the team wondering who the struggle was against.
  • The most surprising and undoubtedly controversial discovery: the inhabitants were not human but possibly mechanoid

Follow-Up Expedition Recommendation

The authors of this study cannot overstress the need to return as soon as possible with a larger, better-funded group. Expedition One merely scratched the surface of this well-kept mystery, and extensive studies in archaeology, geology, and anthropology are needed to understand the history and significance of this island's ancient history.

Stone Arch It is certain that the inhabitants were not native to this planet, and they had a basic structure that was mechanical. This alone is certainly enough to fuel controversy, but it appears these inhabitants also employed advanced technology to create intricate dwellings, dig immense tunnel and mining operations, and utilize various forms of biothermic energy.

The humans of this planet can learn a great deal by detailed study of the fossil remains of Mata Nui, if further expeditions are approved. It is further recommended that the team be led by Drs. Boswell and Livingstone, as they have the greatest amount of first-hand experience with the island and its mysteries.

Island Recent History and Facts >

Overview History and Facts Expedition Log Conclusion