The mystery of Easter Island is still not completely resolved. Who were these people that found this uninhabited island and created almost 900 huge world-famous stone heads?
Scientists may finally discovered some parts of the truths about Easter Island. For many decades people’s minds have been occupied with the mystery of Easter Island. A remote piece of volcanic soil far away in the Pacific Ocean. But our planet hosts thousands of such lonely islands. What is so particular with just this island?
The mystery is concealed not on the island itself, but the giant stone statues covering it. Who created the world famous huge stone heads? Did they serve any specific purpose? Where did their creators arrive from? Where did they disappear?
What do we know about Easter Island?
Easter Island, a Chilean territory, is a remote volcanic island in Polynesia. Its native name is Rapa Nui. It’s famed for archaeological sites, including nearly 900 monumental statues called moai, created by inhabitants during the 13th–16th centuries. The moai are carved human figures with oversize heads, often resting on massive stone pedestals called ahus. Ahu Tongariki has the largest group of upright moai, according to Wikipedia.
Easter Island Facts
Area: 163.6 km²
Language: Spanish, Rapa Nui
Province: Isla de Pascua
Population: 7,750 (2017)
Highest elevation: 507 m (1,663 ft)
Number of stone statues: 887
Weight of the statues: It varies from 90 tons to almost 300 tons
Where is Easter Island located?
Nearly 2,300 miles west of South America and 1,100 miles from the nearest island, you will find Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui. Here is an Easter Island map:
Rapa Nui which is the name given to the the island by its first inhabitants is the territory of Chile and is situated in the southern pacific ocean. It is so far that you can easily consider it one of the world’s most distant places on the map. Pitcairn is its closest neighbor and is located more than 1,100 miles away. Chile itself is located 2,300 miles away to the west. The only transport that can take you there is a plane. If you want to get to this destination point you need to spend 5 hours onboard flying from Santiago Chile to Easter Island. The area of the island is just 63 square miles, and the home to 887 huge stone statues!
The newcomers chiseled away at volcanic stone, carving moai, monolithic statues built to honor their ancestors. They moved the mammoth blocks of stone—on average 13 feet tall and 14 tons—to different ceremonial structures around the island, a feat that required several days and many men.Smithsonianmag.com: “New findings rekindle old debates about when the first people arrived and why their civilization collapsed”
Rapa Nui National Park
Rapa Nui National Park is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located on Easter Island, Chile. Rapa Nui is the Polynesian name of Easter Island; its Spanish name is Isla de Pascua. The island is located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeastern extremity of the Polynesian Triangle. The island was taken over by Chile in 1888. Its fame and World Heritage status arise from the 887 extant stone statues known by the name “moai”, whose creation is attributed to the early Rapa Nui people who inhabited the island around 300 AD, according to Wikipedia.
Many know them as theRead more about the moai statues on Easter Island TravelEaster Island heads. This is a misconception from having seen photos of statues in the volcano Rano Raraku partitially covered up with soil. Truth is that all of these “heads” have full bodies. There are around 1000 statues, up to 86 tons tons in weight and 10 m in height, though average is around half of that. 95% of the moais were carved from the volcano Rano Raraku. This location was chosen since it consists to a great extent of tuff, which is what the moais from this volcano consist of. Tuff is compressed volcanic ash and is easy to carve, which was necessary since the natives had no metal to carve with, but used only stone tools; the so called toki.
The mystery of Easter Island
Once you appreciate the size and scale of these massive stone sculptures you begin to wonder; Who put them here? What purpose do they have? How did they transport them across Easter Island? Check out our FAQ below to learn more!
How were the statues moved?
Ropes were also used to move the Moai statues to the platforms. For this to work, the hauling ropes would have had to have been about 250 feet long, which at an inch thick would have weighed over a ton. Many people required to make the rope, many people required to pull. Some Moai were erected up to 15 miles from the quarry, and until recently it was assumed they would have been hauled along on wooden rollers. However, latest research by Professor Charles Love who has been excavating the moai roads, shows that rollers would not have worked because the road beds themselves were not level, but slightly concave. How they moved the Moai statues is still one of the great mysteries of Easter Island. Whatever means were employed, once a statue arrived at its intended ahu, it had to be levered upright. Then the red crowns, some weighing up to 11 tons, could be placed on top, according to Bradshaw Foundation.