‘Hidden Bodies’ of Easter Island’s Stone Statues Found by Archeologists

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ARCHAEOLOGISTS found the famous Easter Island heads have hidden bodies beneath them. These offered more knowledge about the ancient civilizations.

These massive statues popular as Moai among Rapa Nui people, the creators of these figures in the tropical area of South Pacific directly west of Chile, were created from stone which were discovered on the island between 1100AD and 1500AD. Even though approximately half of them are at the mo’ai quarry, Rano Raraku, hundreds of them had been transported to be set on the stone platforms known as Ahu surrounding the perimeter of the island. The mo’ai represents the living faces of their defied ancestors but according to the archaeologists the parts of statues had been found buried underground into sediment and rock over time.

The Easter Island Statue Project was developed to a higher standard for studies and preservation of artefacts by a team of experts at UCLA.

Researchers have excavated many of the heads through this process in order to get to know the buried torso and body.

A researcher at the University of California, Jo Anne Van Tilburg, stated in 2012: “The reason people think they are [only] heads is there are about 150 statues buried up to the shoulders on the slope of a volcano”.

“These are the most famous, most beautiful and most photographed of all the Easter Island statues”.

Archaeologists investigated the Easter Island statues (Image: GETTY/UCLA)
The heads were built between 1000AD and 1500AD (Image: GETTY)

“This suggested to people who had not seen photos of [other unearthed statues on the island] that they are heads only.”

This team has recorded and studied approximately 1,000 statues in total on the small Pacific Island.

This project was extended for nine years and the team performed their level best in the aspects to bring out meaning, function and history of each statue.

Two of the Easter Island heads were excavated by the archaeologists after approvals to reveal their torso and truncated waist.

The successive mass transport deposits of the island had covered the heads and the lower half of the statues were buried in it.

Some people have not seen the full statues (Image: GETTY)

The statues were buried by these deposits upto their heads due to the weathering and erosion through centuries.

Easter Island is located within a volcanic hot spot called The Nazca Plate  which produced the Sala y Gomez ridge that extends east as the Pacific Ocean opening through the East Pacific Rise.

Successive volcanic flows of the Pliocene and Holocene made of basalt and andesite have been active in the formation of the island.

Additionally, tufts of volcanoes were deposited in the volcanic crater and this the stone used primarily for the monolithic Moai carvings.

Majority of the statues are found along the volcanic cone, Rano Raraku, which seemed to be the quarry which supplied the Rapa Nui the monolithic stones that were used for carving.

During the process of excavation, the team has come across etched petroglyphs on the back of the statues, that usually represent Polynesian canoes.

The island is full of different statues (Image: GETTY)
Archaeologists were able to dig some up (Image: UCLA)

It seems that the canoe motif is symbolizing the carver’s family as it provides clues to different familial or group structures of the island.

Rapa Nui has used large trunks of trees placed into deep holes adjoining the statues in order to carve and place them upright.

The ropes and large tree trunks had been used to lift the statues and place them upright.

The heads and front side of these stone statues were carved by Rapa Nui keeping them lay on the ground and the backs had been completed after they were uprighted. The height of the tallest stone statue known as Paro is 33 feet.

The statues seemed to have been painted in red colour during ceremonies as there were abundant red pigments found at the human burial sites.

Since these burials were surrounded by the statues, it is suggested that Rapa Nui was dead with the statues of the family.

Source of the information: www.express.co.uk

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