Amazing discovery underneath the Easter Island heads

The Easter Island is one of the remote islands of the world, and it is famous for The Eastern Island Heads, also called moai. These are some 887 extant monumental statues are present on this island and in museums and most of them have very big faces with enigmatic expressions. These statues were carved out of compressed volcanic ash, basalt, pumice and other elements by the Rapa Nui people, around 1250-1500 A.D. The tallest among them named Paro is a 30 feet tall moai weighing around 82 tons.

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1 The discovery

Scientists have discovered that the statues are not just faces, in fact most have full bodies with torsos and most of them finishing up till knees. On the outside, only the giant faces were to be seen, but after excavations, researchers found that they indeed have full bodies and have engravings on them. These engravings are in an indecipherable writing, known as petroglyphs. Now, it is uncertain whether these bodies were buried on purpose or whether they got buried because of time and erosion. But, one thing is certain, the mystery which could not be solved till date, i.e. the reason of their existence, have been deepened further, as the carvings on these bodies definitely hold some meaning, but only time will tell whether the researchers are able to decipher the meanings or not.

The discovery

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2 No one knows how they got there

These engravings are in an indecipherable writing, known as petroglyphs. Now, it is uncertain whether these bodies were buried on purpose or whether they got buried because of time and erosion. But, one thing is certain, the mystery which could not be solved till date, i.e. the reason of their existence, have been deepened further, as the carvings on these bodies definitely hold some meaning, but only time will tell whether the researchers are able to decipher the meanings or not.

No one knows how they got there

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3Physical characteristics of the statues

The heads of these statues are what is mostly visible and it is their faces which have unique features. Most of the moai have an average height of 4 m, and weigh around 12.5 tonnes. The faces of moai are characterised by a broad nose, a strong chin, rectangle shaped ears, lips protruding into thin pouts and very deep eye slits. The expressions on these faces are enigmatic and show a great hint of pride.

 Physical characteristics of the statues

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4History of the People who carved them

The Rapa Nui people are believed to have come and settled on this island during 700-1100 A.D. According to some oral traditions recorded by missionaries in 1860s, the island initially had a stiff and strong class system. The area was headed by a high chief called an Ariki, exercised great power over the other clans which were present on the island. The most important cultural activity for the people was to build massive statues, and some scholars believe that these statues were of the deified ancestors.

History of the People who carved them

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5 The statues were part of the culture of the natives

The area was headed by a high chief called an Ariki, exercised great power over the other clans which were present on the island. The most important cultural activity for the people was to build massive statues, and some scholars believe that these statues were of the deified ancestors.

The statues were part of the culture

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6A belief on the beliefs of the people

In a report National Geographic had said that some scholars believe that moai were built to honor the ancestors, chiefs, and other important personages of the time. But, all this is not certain as there are no written or oral historical facts available.

A belief on the beliefs of the people

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7The relationship between the Rapa Nui people and the statues

There is also this belief that the people had a symbolic relationship with their ancestors, and they believed that whatever comes to them, comes through the ancestors. The ancestors provided them with health, fertility, fortune and protection. And in return, the people gave offerings to the ancestors which ensured a better place for them in the spirit world. As most of the settlements were located on the coastal areas, the statues were also erected on the coastline, and they were believed to be watching over the habitants of the islands and faced their backs towards the sea.

The relationship between the Rapa Nui people and the statues

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8The statues are believed to be the guardians of the Island

As most of the settlements were located on the coastal areas, the statues were also erected on the coastline, and they were believed to be watching over the habitants of the islands and faced their backs towards the sea.

The statues are believed to be the guardians of the Island

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9A statue unlike the others were excavated

One statue that was located separate from the others threw new light n the nature of the statues. Although not complete, it was said if completed it would have been 69 feet tall and weigh 270 tons.

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A statue unlike the others were excavated

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10 Different rocks were used for making the statues

Different rocks were used for carving the statues. Out of the 887 statues called Moai, 834 were made with compressed volcanic ash called Tuff. 13 statues were made from basalt, 17 from scoria and 22 from a rock called trachyte.

Different rocks were used for making the statues

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11 The statues face away from the oceans

One peculiar fact noticed by researchers is that all the statues faced inland and away from the ocean. There is only one exception and that is the statue located at Ahu Akivi which is a sacred area for the Rapa Nui people.

The statues face away from the oceans

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12 Sunken continent myth debunked

The earlier belief of the Easter Island statues was the sunken continent theory which has been debunked because of the new research and excavation. It has been found that the statues were deliberately left incomplete by craftsmen if they came against rock inclusions. They then started on another statue.

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Sunken continent myth debunked

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13The revelation that the statues have full bodies isn’t a new discovery

As much as excavators and archaeologists would have us believe that the statues have long bodies buried underground isn’t exactly a new concept. Many of the statues on the Island are situated above the ground and even have arms, legs, and red hats on them.

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14Who gave them the name?

The Chilean Polynesian Island has been the subject of much research and excavation but it was the Dutch explorers under Jacob Roggeveen who first visited the island in the Easter of 1722 and thus gave Rapa Nui its western name of Easter Island.

Who gave them the name

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15 Rapa Nui website crashed in 2012

With the amazing discovery of the underground torsos of several of the main head statues, news on the internet spread like wildfire. The website of Easter Island lying near dormant suddenly received a wave of traffic and crashed from 3 million visitors.

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Rapa Nui website crashed

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