Do the Stone Heads on Easter Island Have Bodies?

Those famous carved stone heads that dot the hills on Easter Island, a Chilean island in the Pacific Ocean, are actually not just heads -- they are complete carvings, but some of the statues' bodies are buried beneath the ground. In 2012, archaeologists began unearthing some of the buried statues -- known as moai -- on the slopes of the volcanic crater Rano Raraku, and found complete figures underneath. These buried statues are among the most frequently photographed on Easter Island, which has given many people the incorrect impression that the moai are just stone heads, rather than complete bodies.

There are about 150 statues buried up to the shoulders on the slopes of Rano Raraku, which was also the site of the quarry used to supply the stone for the monolithic sculptures. However, there are nearly 900 moai dotted all around Easter Island -- a remarkable feat of engineering. They were carved from volcanic rock between 1100 and 1500 AD by the Rapa Nui people, the native Polynesian inhabitants of the island.

A tribute to the ancestors:

  • Recent excavation work has documented for the first time the complex carvings found on the bodies of the buried statues.

  • The moai on Easter Island range in size, with the tallest reaching 33 feet (10 meters) and the heaviest weighing over 80 tons. To preserve unearthed portions of the statues, archaeologists have applied chemicals and water repellant.

  • The moai are thought to represent the ancestors of the indigenous Rapa Nui people. The Rapa Nui would probably have carved a statue each time an important person passed away.

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More Info: Live Science

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