dr jo ann van tilburg

Dr. Jo Anne Van Tilburg

Jo Anne Van Tilburg is an archaeologist, director of the Easter Island Statue Project (EISP) and director of the UCLA Rock Art Archive, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles. Her study areas are California and Eastern Polynesia, where she has carried out three decades of field work centered on the monolithic statues (moai) of Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Her research interests focus on ancient aesthetics in the context of ecology and ethnology, and she is widely published on these and related topics (www.eisp.org).

Under her direction the UCLA Rock Art Archive received the California Governor’s Award for Historical Preservation. With her EISP team and the support of the Rapanui community and the Archaeological Institute of America Site Preservation Committee, Dr. Van Tilburg recently completed major excavations in Rano Raraku, the moai quarry, and is currently preparing a fulsome publication on the team’s findings. In 2018 she was the recipient of the distinguished Mata Ki Te Rangi Foundation award.

Dr. Van Tilburg served two-terms as an appointed member of the US National Landmarks Commission, National Park System Advisory Board. She has appeared in over 40 internationally produced public education documentaries and films in support of archaeological site conservation and educational outreach and is an active member or fellow of organizations supporting those interests including the Explorers Club and the international Rock Art Network, Getty Conservation Institute, among others. In collaboration with her Rapanui colleagues Dr. Van Tilburg founded the Mana Gallery and Mana Press on Rapa Nui to encourage and support local artists.