Easter Island is a fascinating and curious place. The strange statues that dot the island’s landscape have mystified people for hundreds of years. So how exactly were these giant monuments made? And what became of the people who created them? Well, now scientists have made a remarkable breakthrough – one that could shed light on the mysterious disappearance of Easter Island’s inhabitants.
Easter Island, or Rapa Nui to its indigenous people, is a small island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. Formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago, it is today a quiet, isolated place that’s home to some 6,000 inhabitants. The island is famed the world over for the bizarre and enigmatic statues that litter the landscape and which amaze visitors.
The famous statues, known as “moai,” are easily recognizable by their distinct angular features. Yet although widely referred to as the “Easter Island heads,” many of them do in fact have bodies. Carved from a soft volcanic stone sometime between 1250 and 1500, the statues are said to represent the faces of the islanders’ glorified ancestors. There are thought to be nearly 900 moai in total, but mystery still surrounds the Polynesian craftsmen who made them.