Studies of lake sediments and climate at Rano Raraku -- the crater where nearly all the moai (statues) have been carved -- have suggested that lake level was once higher (at the end of the last glacial period). In the process of identifying soils to sample, we've stumbled onto what seems to be previously overlooked evidence for a high stand of lake level. In addition to large areas of "ironpan" development consistent with a vegetated peaty lakeshore, we found large numbers of fossil roots which we can use to partially identify the plants that once occupied the lakeshore.
Was Collapse Inevitable on Easter Island (Rapa Nui)? Reconstructing a Civilisation's Failure is a Marsden Programme Troy Baisden is involved in.