Easter Island Statues: Who Built Them and How?
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Easter Island Statues: Who Built Them and How?

Jacob Roggeveen discovered Easter Island in 1722 It is called Easter Island because it was discovered on that day. The truth about how the Easter Island statues were carved is not know.

The Dutch explorer Admiral Jacob Roggeveen first sighted Easter Island on Easter Sunday 1722. He only stayed on the island for one day and reported that the inhabitants were all different physical types who prayed to the rising sun and lit fires during their worship of huge stone statues.

Easter Island Statues

Source:  Stock Photos Creative Commons

In 1774 James Cook rediscovered the island and found that the population had been decimated and that around 600 hundred men and 30 women remained.

Easter Island

Source: Stock Photos Creative Commons

Since that day, archaeologists, historians, anthropologists and other scholars have disagreed about the origin and purpose of the one thousand, or more, huge statues that are sited all over it.

Many of these statues are more than twenty tonnes in weight, but the largest of all stands at 9.5 metres or 32 feet tall and has a weight of 90 tonnes. It is generally accepted that these figures once stood upright on stone temple platforms called huas and some experts claim that they are images of chiefs, or Polynesian spiritual leaders who arrived on the island from the west about 2000 years ago. They were all carved before 1650 when fighting broke out among the islanders.

Easter Island

Source: Stock Photos Creative Commons

However, other historians claim that the Polynesians did in fact come from the east, and the Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl proved that this was possible in 1947. He sailed his raft called Kon Tiki from Peru to Tuamoto archipelago, just west of Easter Island.

When Thor Heyerdahl visited the island nine years later, he conducted some experiments. The first one featured six natives using stone tools, left behind by the original stone masons, to rough out the front of a statue at the side of the quarry and it took them three days. It was estimated that it would take a full year to complete and polish a free-standing statue similar to those already found on the island.

In another test, twelve islanders raised the statue and set it on its hua by making a second platform beneath the stomach part of the figure which was laying on the ground, while levering it up with a couple of 5 metre tree trunks. Wood was available to the earlier statue makers because the island, which is now completely treeless, was once heavily forested.

The Polynesians told Thor Heyerdahl that the statues were moved around on Y-shaped sledges pulled along by teams of men.

None of this is incontrovertible proof that the statues of Easter Island were carved, carried around and erected in this way, but it does seem like a plausible theory.

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Comments (2)

As always, interesting reading! Thanks for sharing! :)


this did not tell me what they used to make them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'