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Posted on Tuesday, December 11 - 2007

Sloping slightly sideways on the grassy hills beneath the Ranu Raraku volcano, a giant stone head known as a moai shows the wear and tear of time on this triangular 64-square-mile island. On the right side of the oblong rectangular face with male features, the rock is lighter in color and its long, carefully sculpted ear and nostril are clearly visible. But on the statue"s left side, the sun and wind have eroded the nose, lip and ear. "The moai are dying by natural causes," said archaeologist Sergio Rapu, a lifelong researcher of this isolated South Pacific island of hills and extinct volcanoes also known as Rapa Nui. "The prehistoric Rapa Nui people noted it would take 300 to 400 years for the statues to become completelyeroded." Such predictions loom bleak for the island"s nearly 1,000 signature moai statues, as the constant battering of erosion and rain is slowly eating away at the island"s porous volcanic stone.

Easter Island is among the world"s most isolated inhabited islands with about 4,000 inhabitants. It lies 2,237 miles west of Chile, which annexed the island in 1888. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rapu said erosion can be stopped by using chemical resins that seal the stone, as well as stabilizing the ahu, or altar platforms that support some of the moai, many of which are slowly falling into the ocean. But that would be costly, he said. Archaeologists had hoped this summer"s New Seven Wonders of the World contest - organized by Swiss film producer and philanthropist Bernard Weber - would spark the release of funds to restore the moai. Thestatues were carved between 1200 and 1550 to honor the gods. After placing in the top 10 favorite sites during preliminary results, the island failed to make the final seven, chosen by 100 million people in a popular vote by Internet, phone and mail. When the moais finished eighth, Weber sent Chile a letter saying the statues were "morally" one of the New Seven Wonders, according to the local press. In the meantime, Jose Antonio Viera, minister of the presidency, said it is urgent for the Chilean government and the international community to come to the rescue.

View: Full Article | Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Views : 2782

Posted on Friday, June 22 - 2012

A new theory suggests that the giant stone heads might have been "walked" upright along the roads.Until now it was believed that the islanders would have rolled the giant moai statues in to position using logs, but now a new theory is taking hold suggesting that the statues could have been moved along the island"s roads in an upright position. In a practical demonstration of the technique, a group of 18people were able to move a stone head weighing 5 tons along a road using nothing more than a few pieces of rope.The method may help explain why there are so many broken heads left at the roadside on Easter Island, it also helps to add some credence to the legendary tales of "walking heads" on the island.

The startling claim comes from archaeologists Terry Hunt of the University of Hawaii and Carl Lipo of California State University Long Beach, whoshowed how as few as 18 people could move a 5-ton statue with just some ropes and hopes.  

View: Full article |  Source: Fox News  

Views : 545

Posted on Thursday, May 17 - 2012

New archaological digs on Easter Island have revealed tall bodies buried beneath the stone heads.While most of the statues on the enigmatic island appear only as heads protruding from the ground, archaeologists have confirmed that most, if not all of them actually have intricately carved bodies buried in the ground below them as well. The statues, or "Moai", are believed to have been built by the island"s inhabitants between 1250 and 1500AD. To date, 887 ofthem have been found."Those statues which are the most photographed are standing in the quarry," said Jo Anne Van Tilburg, director of the Easter Island Statue Project.

"So itís understandable that the general public didnít have a clue that those statues had bodies." First Van Tilburg documented the islandís statues and those that have been removed to museums; there are 887 inventoried, though she says the number is closer to 1,000. Then she began the next phase of work to reveal what lay beneath theground -- covered up not intentionally by men, but through centuries of exposure to the environment.  

View: Full article |  Source: Fox News  

Views : 437

Posted on Saturday, May 15 - 2010

The method believed to be used by the inhabitants of Easter Island to move their statues has been called in to question.Up until now it has been widely believed that the inhabitants used a network of roads to transport the enormous stone head statues around the island however new research by archeologists has now suggested that the roads were purely ceremonial and wouldnot have made for a practical transportation system.

British archeologists are rejecting a 50-year-old theory of how Easter Island"s famous stone statues were moved around the island. Easter Island ó a special territory of Chile in the South Pacific ó is famous for its hundreds of moai, or statues representing deceased ancestors, built by the early Polynesianinhabitants.

View: Full article | Source: CBCNews

Views : 1069


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