Easter Island Island of Giants

stevetheblogger By stevetheblogger, 14th Jul 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2906dhdv/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Oceania>Easter Island>Hanga Roa & Around

This is my third article in a series of four articles looking at places on earth, that owe there existence to volcanic activity. This article as the title indicates is about Easter Island.

Location of Easter Island

Easter Island sits in the Pacific Ocean and with its closest neighbor the Pitcairn Islands (reported to have fewer than 100 inhabitants) a full 2,075 km away is one of the world's most isolated, inhabited islands. Volcanology has always been a subject of great interest to me not just for its destructive power, but for its creative power.

How did Easter Island get its name:

The Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, while on one of his many voyages, arrived at Easter Island (by chance), while searching for Davis or David's island further North on Easter Sunday, 1722. On his arrival he is said to have said “never before have I seen such a desolate but beautiful place, as the Island I see set out before me.” The site that lay before him must have been spectacular, for set out before him, just a small distance away from the beach, stood fifteen of the famous, “Moai statues”. Some by the way were in a state of disrepair at the time and not all were standing. They would be restored in later years using traditional methods.

The world famous Easter Island Moai statues:

The large stone statues, or moai, that greeted Jacob Roggeveen on his arrival at the island were carved from 1100–1680 CE. The dating of these statues has been calculated using rectified radio-carbon dating procedures. So far a total of 887 monolithic stone statues have been found on the island, so far (some are now in museums) and excavations are still finding more. The statues have torsos, most of them ending at the top of the legs, although a small number of them are complete figures. Most of these figures are shown kneeling on bent knees with their hands clutched over their stomachs. To show how shifting soils has changed the level of the land, some upright moai have become buried up to their necks making some of them very hard to find. Almost all of the moai were carved out of compressed, easily worked solidified volcanic ash found in only one place on the Island, the extinct volcano Rano Raraku one of the many extinct volcanoes on the Island.

So! We know what these Moai statues were made out of but who made them?

Sorry to break anyone's bubble but we can now, without a shadow of a doubt say they were not built by men from outer space. They were in-fact made by a Stone Age civilization called the “Rapa Nui” people. It is also known these people made extensive use of several different types of local stone and had extensive knowledge of basic hand tools. These tools can still be found scattered around the different ancient quarries around the Island. Because of the basic tools these people were using the volcanic stone was first soaked, to soften it before sculpting began, then again throughout the process. This process was very time consuming and it would take a single moai team of five or six men, at least one year to complete one statue. Why were these statues made you might ask? It appears that each Moai statue represented the deceased head of a line of “Rapu Nui” family, in essence a monument to a great chief.

Modern day Easter Island:

As of the 2002 census the population of Easter Island was 3,791,of this number 60% were Rapanui Chileans and 39% were of Amerindian descent and the remaining 1% were Native Americans from mainland Chile. The population density on Easter Island is only 23 inhabitants per square kilometer, so they have plenty of room. There is also an annual festival, the called Tapati, held since 1975 starting at the beginning of February to celebrate the Rapanui culture. The islanders also maintain a national football team and they boast three discos in the town of Hanga Roa. Other cultural activities include a musical tradition that combines South American and Polynesian influences and woodcarving. If you want to go and take a visit after reading this Easter Island is served by Mataveri International Airport, with jet service from Lan Airlines and seasonally, subsidiaries such as Lan Peru.

I hope you have enjoyed your romp around one of the worlds most mysterious and isolated Island. I for one will add this one to my pie in the sky bucket list.

stevetheblogger

Credits my trusty old books Wikipedia for the photographs and some of the specific dates.

Tags

Easter Island, Hanga Roa, Jacob Roggeveen, Mataveri International Airport, Moai, Pacific Ocean, Volcanic Activity

Meet the author

author avatar stevetheblogger
Stevetheblogger Is a full time freelance writer Originally from the UK he now lives in Quebec City, Canada with his French Canadian Wife. stevetheblogger is also for hire

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Ramalingam
15th Jul 2012 (#)

Very interesting Easter islands.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
15th Jul 2012 (#)

I have always been fascinated with Easter Island and the giant heads.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Jerry Walch
15th Jul 2012 (#)

Ditto Mark Gordon's comments. I have several books on the subject, but I still can't get enough.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
15th Jul 2012 (#)

Nice to know these facts to understand more about our past and different cultures. Thanks, Steve - siva

Reply to this comment

author avatar stevetheblogger
15th Jul 2012 (#)

Thank you guys your comments mean a lot to me
Best Wishes
Steve

Reply to this comment

author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
16th Jul 2012 (#)

Very interesting, Steve. Thank you. I had never heard of Easter Island.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Delicia Powers
16th Jul 2012 (#)

Very fascinating...thanks steve!

Reply to this comment

author avatar stevetheblogger
16th Jul 2012 (#)

Delicia
Many Thanks for your Kind Comment
Best Wishes
Steve

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
19th Jul 2012 (#)

You make interesting observations Steve

Reply to this comment

author avatar stevetheblogger
20th Jul 2012 (#)

Thank you Delicia and Tony for your very Kind Comments
Best Wishes
Steve

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password