Archaeological breakthrough: “hidden bodies” of Easter Island statue discovered by experts | World | News

0
1,251


Known as the Moai by the Rapa Nui people who created the figures in the tropical South Pacific directly west of Chile, these huge statues were carved from stone found on the island between 1100 AD and 1500 AD. Almost half are still at Rano Raraku, the main quarry of moʻai, but hundreds were transported from there and installed on stone platforms called gazelle around the perimeter of the island. The moai are the living faces of the deified ancestors, but over time archaeologists have found parts of the statues to be buried in sediment and rock.

A team of experts at UCLA developed on Easter Island Statue Project to better study and preserve artefacts. Through this work, the researchers searched several of the heads to reveal the underlying torso and body.

Jo Anne Van Tilburg, a researcher at the University of California, said in 2012: “The reason people think [only] Chiefs is there are about 150 statues buried shoulder-to-shoulder on the slope of a volcano.

“They are the most famous, the most beautiful and the most photographed of all the statues on Easter Island.

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

In total, the team documented and studied nearly 1,000 statues on the small Pacific island.

The project spanned nine years during which the team determined to the best of their ability the meaning, function and history of each individual statue.

After approval, archaeologists excavated two of the heads on Easter Island to reveal their torsos and truncated waists.

The heads had been covered by successive mass transport depots on the island which buried the statues in the lower half.

READ MORE: “Bad omen! Curse of the pharaohs warned by Egyptian workers after major discovery

These events enveloped the statues and gradually buried them at their heads as the islands have naturally weathered and eroded over the centuries.

Easter Island is located in the Nazca Plate and is a volcanic hotspot that produced the Sala y Gomez ridge that stretches east as the Pacific Ocean opened up across the East Pacific Rise.

The island itself was formed by successive Pliocene and Holocene volcanic flows consisting of basalt and andesite.

In addition, volcanic tuffs have been deposited in the volcanic crater, which is the main stone used to carve the monolithic Moai statues.

Most of the statues are located along the volcanic cone of Rano Raraku, which served as a quarry that supplied Rapa Nui with the monolithic stones used for sculpture.

While excavating the statues, the team found petroglyphs engraved on the backs of the figures, usually crescent-shaped to represent Polynesian canoes.

DON’T MISS
End of the world: how the archaeologist discovered the “real apocalyptic Maayan” [VIDEO]
Mayan discovery: how a discovery in an ancient city “reveals the story of creation” [CLAIM]
Egypt: how the expert amazed at the “greatest archaeological discovery of all time” [REVEALED]

The canoe motif is probably the symbol of the sculptor’s family, providing clues to the different family or group structures on the island.

In order to sculpt and place the statues vertically, the Rapa Uni used large tree trunks which were placed in deep holes adjacent to the statues.

They then used a rope and the large tree trunk to lift the statue into place.

The Rapa Nui carved the heads and fronts of the statues while they were lying on the ground, then completed the backs after straightening the stone statues. The tallest of your statues is 33 feet tall and is known as Paro.

An abundant red pigment was found at the human burial sites of several individuals, suggesting that the statues were painted red probably during ceremonies.

These burials often surround the statues, suggesting that the Rapa Nui buried their dead along with the family statue.



LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here