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Bucket List Archaeological Sites: Easter Island


volcanic rock to resemble the people whose graves they marked. Rising up to 32 feet and weigh- ing up to 82 tons, hundreds of moai are scattered in the quarry and across Easter Island, Chile. The Rapa Nui, native to the island, believed the moai housed the spirit of the deceased so they could continue to watch over their village. Named by Dutch explorer Jacob


A


Roggeveen when he arrived on Easter Sunday 1722, Easter Island is the most re- mote island in the world. It became part of Chile in 1888, yet retains its own flag (right). When carvers completed the front of a moai


and worked on shaping its back, they inserted logs under the stone figure to roll it downhill to a specific hole, and momentum would force it to stand up. Scientists hypoth-


26 MILITARY OFFICER OCTOBER 2016


ncient moai (monolithic human figures, shown above) tower over Rano Raraku quarry, where master carvers chiseled these grave markers from


esize the workers would then “walk” the moai from the quarry to its final destination by putting rocks under one side and then the other, which enabled a pivoting motion. Half-carved moai still lie flat against quarry walls. Others litter the hillside. Some lie facedown, perhaps having fallen forward during work- ers’ attempts to stand them up or walk them to the shore. This production stopped when civil war broke out in the late 18th century, and many moai were toppled by warring factions. Today, there are 877 moai in varying locations and conditions, and each con- tains its own history of the people who


created them to honor the dead. Although a few toppled moai have been re- stored, little has changed in the quarry since it was


abandoned. It is a snapshot of history frozen in time. For more information, visit http://chile.travel/en. — Marilyn Jones


To watch archaeologists test the theory of ”walking” moai, visit http://bit.ly/1FVSLhO. IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK


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