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, […]
The pharaohs did not lie in splendid isolation in the Valley of the Kings. While they held a monopoly on the spectacular royal tombs driven far into the bedrock, favoured individuals could also secure space in the cemetery. They had to make do with humbler tombs – often more modest than they would have expected […]