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Chile - Easter Island, Ahu Tongariki

Easter Island - or Rapa Nui as the locals call their island - is well known for its moai, the great carved stone statues staring stonily across the island’s barren hills. The islanders used stone tools to carve a statue out of volcanic tuff. The statues were secured by bark rope attached to tree trunk capstans at the top of the ‘moai factory’. Then they were lowered down the slope into pits where, upstanding right, they were carved in the familiar shape. From there they were transported over the island to their final resting places.

Each statue was carved to represent a specific deified ancestor - moai means “for the progeny” or “for the descendants” - that’s why there are no two statues alike. There are almost 900 moai recorded on Rapa Nui; almost 400 still in the quarry, between 164 and 288 on an ahu (a raised rectangular platform used as a place of worship) and 200 remain on the spot were they fell or were left during transport. The average moai weighs 12,5 tons and stands 4 metres high.

The largest site on Rapa Nui with standing moai is Ahu Tongariki. It has fifteen stone statues lined up and also the largest moai ever erected on the island with a weight of more than 86 tons. One of them is wearing a so called pukao, topknots or hats. They were carved out of a relatively soft red volcanic stone and number around a hundred.

The fifteen moai were toppled in the 17th century, as were all other of these statues on the island, during a tribal war. An earthquake off the coast of Chile in 1960 produced a tsunami that tossed the moai of Ahu Tongariki - some weighing up to 30 tons - more than 600 metres inland. In October 1992 an agreement was signed between the Government of Chile and the Moai Restoration Committee of Japan to restore Ahu Tongariki, which as finally completed in 1996.
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112 comments

Christine said:

merci Jaap.......pour ce merveilleux document+++++

félicitations********
13 days ago ( translate )

Judith Jannetta said:

Wow, Jaap, I would love to visit here. I read the book when I was young, and have seen TV programmes about Easter Island. Thanks for sharing, and for the info
13 days ago

Gerard Perin said:

belle vue
13 days ago ( translate )

fifi said:

Merci pour le voyage ! o)))
13 days ago ( translate )

Pierre said:

Très beau travail et commentaires !!
13 days ago ( translate )

Gudrun said:

A fascinating place! I didn't know about the tsunami but it figures, that quake was the largest ever measured...
13 days ago

Jan Erik Moström said:

One of places which I would really like to visit.
13 days ago

Steve Duez said:

Sympa la vue!
13 days ago ( translate )

Winscha said:

L'Île de Pâques avec ses moaïs a toujours été un mystère pour moi jusqu'à ce que je vois un documentaire et comprenne comment les anciens déplaçaient les statues.
Merci pour ton historique Jaap
13 days ago ( translate )

Annemarie said:

wonderful!
have a great week:)
13 days ago ( translate )

Marvin Matthews said:

Extraordinary ! And thanks for the history.
13 days ago

Valeriane ♫ ♫ ♫¨* said:

extraordinaire**********************
13 days ago ( translate )

Ghislaine Girardot said:

Excellent !!
13 days ago ( translate )

William Sutherland said:

Awesome Easter Island shots!
13 days ago

Manfred Kaddik said:

Danke für da Zeigen dieser Steilküste und der eingeblendeten geschnitzten Steinstatuen.
13 days ago ( translate )