I found an interesting read a while back detailing an extraordinary find on Easter Island. Obviously the island itself is extraordinary,with gigantic rock figures popping their heads up through the ground for a breath of fresh air. But whats even more interesting is that archaeologists have been excavating the dirt around the remaining heads that are still upright. What they have found below the surface were the bodies belonging to the heads that go some seven meters into the ground.Some of these bodies contain ancient petroglyph writing on the backs. This shows that even though something may have been discovered, sometimes you just need to dig a little deeper to discover it in its entirety.
The statues called Moai, 887 of them, were not particularly built to symbolize gods or spirits per-say , but people who most important in their lives were the recipients of the dedication of these people. People they were very close to. So you could say that one was very loved if their statue was one weighing in and around 80-150 ton and standing(some crouching) as high as 71 feet(21 meters). These statues made of volcanic rock were carved in a quarry located in the highlands and rock’n'rolled all the way around the island into position and hoisted up onto a flat rock called an “Ahu”. Being such a mass of rock, only 288 Moai made it to their resting place, 397 are left inside the quarry, and 92 were left on a road or track on their way to their Ahu’s. The reason these unplaced and unfinished statues are stranded enroute and on their side is because civil war broke out between tribes, thus ending production of the Moai statues. Other clans knocked over and destroyed some in spite of rival tribes.
Warring between tribes over precious resources such as land and food, It could never happen right? Even by being so far away from other civilizations these people were similar to some of our cultures, so I thought I would look a little further into the island and some of the history belonging to it.
Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is claimed to be the most remote inhabited island in the world. Its about 2075km (1289 miles) from its closest neighbor Pitcairn Island, and second closest is continental Chile. The volcanic island Takes the name Easter Island from the European explorers who set foot on it Easter day in 1722, but it has two translations of its real name Te Pito o Te Henua. ”The Naval of the World” or the more appropriate translation being “Land’s End” .
Although the island is still home to almost 2500 people, the population once thrived. Faced with war between tribes over natural resources and a diminishing forest, the people of Easter Island struggled to survive. There are stories that the Leaders of each tribe would send one of the most fit member of their clan to compete in a game each year. This game would consist of the chosen member climbing down a cliff to the ocean, swimming across to a smaller island over a mile away, and collecting an egg from the island. They then would swim back across the shark infested waters, and fight against waves that threatened to throw them onto jagged rocks, just to climb back up the cliff without breaking the egg. If the tribesman was lucky enough to bring their extremely happy leader back an unbroken egg, that leader would become king of the island for that year. It kind of sounds like hunger games has some notes to take.
As the fight for agricultural and right went on getting continuously worse, food getting scarcer and resources harder to find, tales of cannibalism began to surface. A cave, one of many spread through the island, with a name which some say was called “The Cave Where People Eat” and others say “The Cave Where People Are Eaten”, holds grim tales of people eating other people to survive. Long tubes or shafts that lava would flow through during the early creation of the island, were used as fortifications against something or someone. Archaeologists and ethnologists aren’t quite sure what the islanders where hiding from, but a good guess would probably be each other.
So getting back to the bodies that belong to those heads of Easter Island, its very interesting to know there is more to the puzzle. The deeper they dig the more they find. Who knows, maybe they will find some of the tools they used to create such astonishing pieces of work. Maybe they will find something else.
Be sure to keep your eyes open and check out Planet Inside On-line Magazine for more interesting articles. Perhaps there will be more on these mysterious heads who now have bodies. Until next time, thank you for reading.