The Riddle of Easter Island: What Archaeologists Know About Gigantic Scenery
The mystery of Easter Island stirs the minds of historians and enthusiasts over the centuries. It has not yet been possible to explain the origin of the giant stone statues installed on the most remote inhabited island. Scientists are puzzled over how the multi-ton statues moved around the island, and what the drawings on their bases, found during excavations, mean.
Scientists suggest that the indigenous peoples who lived on the island created stone statues of moai in memory of their ancestors. A new sculpture appeared in honor of every deceased chief of the tribe or other important personages.
The islanders carved statues from volcanic rock. To implement their plans, the sculptors have developed a special technology. At first, they plentifully moistened the rock, waiting for it to soften, and only after that they began to work with it. A team of 5-6 sculptors usually worked on one statue, it took about a year to create a moai. The manufacturing process took place at a quarry located in the center of the island in the crater of an extinct volcano. Many statues still remain there. The main mystery is connected with those moai, which are installed on the coast. Understand how the islanders delivered stone giants to the right place until it is possible. The weight of one statue is about 20 tons, but there are those that reach 75-90 tons, the work was enormous.
Europeans first visited the island in 1722, the expedition of the Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeven landed here. Records of the traveler indicate that the statue struck his imagination, and he could not understand how the natives managed to build and plant such sculptures. Over the past three hundred years, scientists have not lost hope of unraveling the mystery of Easter Island.
During one of the first serious research expeditions in 1914, it was found that the statues, which looked like giant heads, were actually attached to the torso. It was discovered during the excavation process. The fact that the sculptures partially went underground was provoked by natural erosion processes.
Despite the fact that this archaeological discovery was made in the early twentieth century, the information was not widely publicized, and for decades people continued to believe in mysterious heads from a distant Pacific island.
The archaeologist Joe Anna Van Tilburg dedicated her life to researching the statues. She became the initiator of the project, in which all the statues of the island (more than 1000 in total) were described using the latest technology.
When the archaeologist published photos of the statues on her website, she was shocked by the number of responses. Users were amazed that in fact most of the statues are hidden underground. For most people in the world, this information was unknown, because usually the knowledge of Easter Island is limited to advertising booklets.
During the excavations, scientists managed to find basalt stones with crescent-shaped images on them. Presumably it could be a canoe. The motif is repetitive, perhaps because the islanders wanted to perpetuate the memory of their own culture. Drawings and statues could be one of the ways of self-identification, as the community gradually lost this information.
The main question, which does not give rest to scientists: how the statues moved around the island? According to the legends, the giants marched on their own. Scientists put forward various theories, the most plausible is the assumption about the use of ropes, ropes and Y-shaped wooden sled. In 1998, an experiment was conducted under the leadership of Anna Tilburg: they tried to move one of the statues using a wooden sled. For this you need a team of 60 people. Together, the boulder was moved to 100 meters.
Judging by the preserved quarry, the islanders have not finished the process of making statues.
Where the whole civilization has disappeared from the desolate land of Easter Island is another question that historians have an answer to.