Did You Know That The Moai Head Statues Of Easter Island Have Bodies Buried Underground?

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Did You Know That The Moai Head Statues Of Easter Island Have Bodies Buried Underground?>

The gigantic stone heads of Easter Island, known locally as 'Moai', are among the most iconic symbols of Polynesia. They are also hiding a secret that many people don't realise. They aren't just 'heads' at all, but in fact, full body statues that over time have become covered in land, leaving only the head above ground.

Built by the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island between 1250 and 1500, many of these great statues, around 1,000 of them in total, still stand in full glory, with 150 of them revealing only their heads.

It wasn't until researchers began fairly recently looking into how the foundations of the statues were built that it was realised that many of the heads had bodies underneath them, which luckily most likely helped preserve some of them and keep them upright for so long. It is estimared that any above ground statues had been toppled in the 18th century as a result of conflict between warring tribes on the island.

The discovery of the bodies beneath the heads was made a number of years ago by a team from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), as part of the 'Easter Island Statue Project'.

In a letter from one of the project leaders, Jo Anne van Tilberg, it reads:

"We have, to date, excavated both statues to their bases on their dorsal sides, and documented features dealing with the ceremonial uses of the statues (pigments), transport (base features, including a large post hole used for elevating the statues), and a small boulder with an incised petroglyph in a motif similar to those on the backs of the statues. We now know for sure that the "heads" on the slope here are, in fact, full but incomplete statues."

While the Moai come in all shapes and sizes, the largest (known as Paro) is 33 feet tall and weighs 82 tonnes.

The mysterious Easter Island 'heads' also have 'bodies' too. Source: The Easter Island Statue Project

Posted by INSH on Monday, 17 April 2017

In 2009, the Easter Island Statue Project received an AIA Site Preservation Grant:...

Posted by Archaeological Institute of America on Sunday, 21 April 2019

One of the key reasons these fantastic statues are so shrouded in mystery and intrigue is because little is known about how they were transported, built, and what role they played in Rapa Nui society.

After being first seen by Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen on Easter Day in 1722, there was little Western contact with the island tribes, who did not keep extensive written records. The tribes-people were then almost completely wiped out. A number of reasons are given for this, including coming into contact with Western diseases, such as smallpox, and due to the slave-trade, into which many Rapa Nui were sadly captured. However, some historians have suggested that much of the downfall of the Rapa Nui on Easter Island was, in fact, due to the arrival of rats onto the island. These rats came from Western ships and resulted in much of the crop-supply of the Rapa Nui being eaten.

Since 1994, the Moai have been a protected UNESCO world heritage site.

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Thinking Humanity: Did You Know That The Moai Head Statues Of Easter Island Have Bodies Buried Underground?
Did You Know That The Moai Head Statues Of Easter Island Have Bodies Buried Underground?
The gigantic stone heads of Easter Island, known locally as 'Moai', are among the most iconic symbols of Polynesia. They are also hiding a secret that
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