On the south coast of the Polynesian island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), a dozen or more fallen statues (moai) lie slumped across the rectangular stone platforms (ahu) on which they once proudly stood. This is the ruined ahu complex of the Akahanga, which is but one of dozens dotted around the coastline of the tiny island. Between 1,000 and 500 years ago, when the when the moai stood erect, rather than looking out to sea their gaze was cast inland. In particular, their eyes fell on a group of curious houses (haré paenga), which lay upslope and were shaped like overturned canoes.
A new study proposes links between the locations of Easter Island’s famous ahu and moai and freshwater sources. Robert J DiNapoli discusses the results and their implications. Easter Island, called Rapa Nui by its inhabitants, represents one of the most remarkable cases of ancient monument construction known in the world. Around the 13th century AD, […]
Cutting-edge computer technology has shed new light on one of the enigmatic Easter Island statues, revealing new details of the cult images decorating its back. Hoa Hakananai’a – a stone head brought to England in 1869, now in the British Museum – has long been of interest to researchers because of its unusual, intricate carvings. […]
Fieldwork led by researchers at University College London (UCL) and the University of Manchester has shown that stone figures lying on their backs and faces beside the roads of Easter Island (Rapanui) were not abandoned by clumsy construction workers who dropped and broke the carvings en-route to the coast journey. Instead, each of the fallen statues is associated with a stone platform from which it has toppled with the passage of time. In other words, the roads themselves were not built and used exclusively for the transportation of the figures.
Will isotope analysis reveal the origins of skeletons found in the earliest known cemetery in the Pacific
What is taboo? The current exhibition at the British Museum reveals all by looking at Art and Divinity in Polynesia, 1760-1860