The Mysterious Moai

Reader Contribution by Marilyn Jones

Scientists, historian and archeologists have their theories as to how the Rapa Nui carved the moai and moved them to the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. To me this is just one mystery; another is how they imagined they could actually do this in the first place.

Rising up to 32 feet and weighing up to 82 tons, hundreds of moai are scattered in Rano Raraku quarry, where they were carved before being moved across Easter Island where they were placed.

The moais marked the graves of important people and chiefs. According to my guide, a Rapa Nui descendant decedent, the islanders believed the moai housed a deceased person’s spirit so that he could continue to watch over their villages. He also explained a popular theory of how they moved the statues. 

In the quarry, when the front of the moai was complete and the back was being shaped, logs were inserted under it to roll it downhill to a specific hole where the momentum would force the moai to stand up. From the quarry, it is thought they were “walked” to their final destination by putting rocks under one side and then the other making a pivoting motion possible.

Today there are 877 moai in varying locations, positions and condition; each holding its own human history of the men who created it to honor the dead.

For more information about visiting Easter Island check with Chile Travel or the experts at explora Rapa Nui resort.

  • Published on Jul 12, 2016
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