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Easter Island

By , Friday 21st December 2007 in Ancient World

Easter Island is a small island in the South Pacific Ocean, which belongs to Chile. The island is most famous for its Moai (stone statues) carved from volcanic basalt along the islands coastline.

The islands native name is "Rapa Nui", but was given its common name by Dutch Admiral Jacob Roggeveen as the island was discovered on Easter Sunday 1722.

The statues were carved during a relatively short and intense burst of creative activity in the megalithic period. According to recent research, 887 monolithic stone statues have been inventoried on the island and in museum collections. All of the statues consist of a head and torso, however many of the statues have been buried up to the neck by soil.

The mystery surrounding the Moai is that how did a stone age society ever make, move and raise them? Some of the Moai weigh in excess of 80 tonnes (twice that of the larger stones at Stonehenge) and have been transported over 15km from the quarry.

Aliens?

In his book, Gods from Outer Space, Erich von Dänkien suggests that the Easter Islanders did not carve the statues at all. Instead he believes that they were created by ancient astronauts in order "to leave the natives a lasting memory of their stay" "They made stone giants which they set up on stone pedestals along the coast so that they were visible from afar."

A More Realistic Explanation

It was resident Archaeologist, Sergio Rapu, which helped to unlock the reason for their construction. He matched coral fragments with a traditional name for the moai (living face of our ancestors) and realised that the figures had once had eyes. He believes the statues were part of a Polynesian tradition of ancestor worship, on a scale not seen anywhere else. Each Moai was different in order to immortalise a particular chief, halfway between the living and the gods. With their backs to the sea they could inspire and protect the Islanders.

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Further Reading
One thought on “Easter Island”
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    Naresh

    Thor Heyerdal researched in the 50's not only that the sttaeus had bodies, but could prove how the sttaeus were transported and erected. I cannot remember how they were transported (there were no trees in the island to make logs to roll the sttaeus on), but I remember clearly how they erected one fallen statue (the book "Aku Aku" included some photos about the process): the natives started putting small stones under the statue. It was surrounded with ropes to pull from it while bigger stones were added every time a single milimeter was gained. After a couple of weeks of adding stones, pulling, adding stones, pulling, etc... the statue was completely vertical. No aliens were harmed in the operation.The book is really worth a reading as any of Mr. Heyerdahl. He also wrote "Kon Tiki" about his travel from Perfa to Polinesia in a small boat made of herbs.He was a badass...

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