The Stone Statues in Easter Island have bodies!
This is absolutely incredible. Here we’ve been thinking for all these years that they were just heads. They are going to be absolutely huge when they are completely excavated. It all just adds to the mystery of these amazing sculptures. Maybe now they can get more information about them seeing as they have writings on them.
Origins: The 887 monolithic human figures carved from rock on Easter Island (known as moai) are familiar to many people through iconic images that show the statues to be either just heads or a combination of heads and shoulders only:
However, such pictures represent only a subset of the different forms in which the human figures on Easter Island appear. A combination of the popularity of the “giant head” images, the fact that the heads on the statues are disproportionately large in comparison to their bodies, and the circumstance that the bottoms of some of the statues are set deep into the ground where they are obscured from view has produced a widespread misconception that all of the Easter Island statues are nothing more than giant heads. Many viewers are surprised, therefore, to learn the moai actually do have bodies:
Additionally, the revelation that the statues have bodies is not a recent discovery, as suggested by the above example: many of the moai (as shown above) are situated fully above ground and displayed in their entirety, and some of the statues even sport arms and what appear to red hats (actually depictions of hair):
In recent years the Easter Island Statue Project (EISP) has undertaken efforts to excavate and study some of the moai, thereby revealing previously hidden portions of the statues.
Wild speculation about UFO’s, Atlantis, and vanished advanced ancient races has always been a part of the Easter Island debate. Science has made great strides in understanding who made the giant statues of Easter Island and has put to rest these bizarre stories. This short pictorial essay will hopefully clear up continuing misconceptions about Easter Island and perhaps will get you thinking about how the story of Easter Island relates to what we as humans are currently doing to our planet. This is a story everyone should read.
Ea st er I sla nd S tor y 1. Arr iva l
Easter Island–Rapa Nui is a tiny speck of land in the South Pacific. Formed by a series of massive volcanic eruptions, the island was only inhabited by sea birds and dragonflies for millions of years. Its steep slopes, however, stood out like a beacon to a weary group of Polynesian seafarers. How long their voyage took or their reasons for leaving their home country are questions that we’ll never have the answer to, but we can imagine their joy at seeing this sight after what must have been months at sea
Lava tubes and pounding waves have created hundreds of sea caves and a treacherous coastline. There are only a few small areas that are safe for anchorages. Located in the South Pacific between Chile and Tahiti, Easter Island is one of the most isolated inhabited islands in the world. Roughly triangular and covering only 64 square miles, it formed when a plume of hot material rose from deep within Earth’s interior, burned through the crust and erupted onto the surface as lava.
Today, volcanic cones are found at each point of the island. The largest, Rano Kau is easily visible from space. The highest is Terevaka, which rises to 11674 feet above sea level. There are over 70 eruptive centers on the island but none has known activity since the island was colonized 1300 years ago.
Ovahe Beach, North Shore This sheltered sand beach is close to Anakena, where the legends say King Hoto Matua landed his double hulled canoe, thus beginning the occupation of Easter Island.
Anakena, a beautiful white sand beach stands out from the rest of the coastline, which is either sharp black lava rock or vertical cliff faces hundreds of feet tall. It is at Anakena that the legends say Hotu Matua landed and began the colonization of the island. Excavations of this area have discovered that it was an important site and it boasts one of the best collections of erected moai on the island, Ahu Naunau.
The voyagers started constructing villages and houses made in an unusual elliptical shape. It has been speculated that this style of construction started when the new arrivals turned their boats upside down for quick housing. There were literally hundreds of remains of these foundations on the island in the 1800’s, but most were destroyed by the missionaries to make fences.
Indeed, the missionaries did more damage to the island’s history than even the Peruvian slave traders, which carted off most of the island’s population. Those who escaped by hiding in the island’s many caves were “saved” by these missionaries, who proceeded to destroy all the islanders’ wooden sculptures, religious artifacts and most importantly, the Rongo-Rongo tablets, which contained a record of the lost language of the Rapa Nui. So few of these tablets remain that no one has been able to decipher them.
The first islanders found a lush island, filled with giant palms which they used to build boats and housing. The plants they brought with them did well in the rich volcanic soil and by AD 1550 population on the island hit a high of between 7000 and 9000.
Distinct clans formed as the population increased and various population centers grew up in different areas of the island. One thing tied them all together however — the statue construction and the cult that formed around it.
2. Statue Construction
1. Arrival – 2. Statue Construction – 3. Erecting the Moai – 4.Conflict – 5. A New Cult – 6. Lesson from the Past