Easter Island Quest - travel guide & information portal. Explore the remote and mysterious Easter Island. Learn about the Rapa Nui culture, the moai statues and obtain useful travel information and advice.

Welcome!Easter IslandCulture, historyMysteriesTravel & explore!Photo galleryDirectory

 

 

The mystery around the moai statues

Your location: Welcome! (Main page) / Mysteries / The mystery around the moai statues

 





The construction

Moai

The famous moai monoliths were literally pulled out of the cliff at the Rano Raraku quarry. If you go there you will see how a statue is carved out of the side of the volcano crater before it is separated from it. Like they were from cheese, the moai were practically melted out of the cliffs. At the Rano Raraku quarry you can see almost 400 moai around the rim of the crater.

The largest moai ever carved is "El Gigante", which is still part of the cliff, has not been cut off from it. If it were finished and erected, it would be the largest statue today, measuring over 21 meters, the weight estimation varies between 160-180 tons, some even put it at 270 tons.

Some moai have carvings on them, which are often considered sort of "graffiti". Specialists have determined that these signs appeared long after the construction of the statues. Interestingly the carving on a statue represents a sailing ship, which means it might have been carved in the very late 1700s, after the Europeans first reached Rapa Nui.

Carving the moai from hard basalt, strong lava and other hard volcanic material must have been a difficult task. Even with modern tools it would be hard to shape a monolith like this. Few moai were built from softer red scoria rock, some were said to have been made of wood, but have disappeared (probably used up for fire wood and other needs).

It is not likely that the locals had metallic objects to carve the rock. The hardest materials they could find were probably the same materials they constructed the statues of.

The transportation and placement of the moai

Another difficult task, perhaps the most difficult one was to transport the moai tens of kilometers from the quarry and put them in place.

Most moai are at the quarry, while the other half distributed unevenly along the coastline.

Many statues had to travel 20-30 kilometers to the place where they were set up. The main quarry was at Rano Raraku, therefore this place is considered to have been the "birthplace" for the large majority of the moai.

The wood & rope theory

It was scientifically proven that there were wide areas of palm forests and even unique indigenous trees which were erased by the population. Many believe that the wood wasn't strong enough for such operations and if they cut them down and placed them under the monoliths in order to roll them to the final destination, then too many trees would have been needed, as they would have been shredded to pieces by the gigantic hard rocks.

There are actually multiple wood & rope-related theories, they either refer to tilting the stones out of their equilibrium or lifting them & rolling them, etc.

But, if they did not use would to transport the statues, what could they have used?

Usage of rocks

A less plausible theory because the monoliths could have gotten damaged by the pebbles and boulders under them. There are enough stones for this purpose, though. But there is no sign that there were roads made for their transportation or rocks left over.

Other possibilities for transportation

Some people like German writer Erich Von Däniken affirm that extraterrestrials came from outer space and helped the locals create these monstrous, yet beautiful works of art... Coconuts! There must be a rational explanation for the transportation.

There must be a rational explanation to how they moved the moai.

There is a theory that says fruits, vegetables could have been used to create a "soft pavement" on which the monoliths could slide. Even so, in some cases they had to go uphill and how could they have moved them?

Perhaps potatoes or similar vegetable could have been thrown in front of each statue so that they slid better.

But how did they go uphill? Once in the "paste", the moai became very slippy and the locals must have used some other technique to pull him up. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Easter Island locator tool

 

Use this tool to find places on Easter Island & read articles about them. It will also help you in planning your trip easily!

 

Select location & hit the button:

 

  

 

Full detailed map of Easter Island

 

Our map will be of great use for travelers wanting to explore the island. By clicking on the image below, you can access it:

 

 

 

 

 

Why travel to Easter Island?

 

Regardless of your age, you can enjoy a unique travel experience on the tiny triangular land of the moai monoliths, far far away in the South Pacific...

Hike, take guided tours to archaeological sites, go off-road biking, see festivals, swim & more! 

Read: Easter Island travel guide

 

 

  

 

To help you choose easier...

 

Choose your travel service providers and discover wonderful unknown places with sincere professional help!

 

Trip Tonix - Online travel directory, trip advisor & more!

Trip Tonix is a simple to use platform for those of you who want to find the best of the best from the online travel industry! Get the best the easy way! Come 'n' check it out!

 

Get beamed directly to the top sections of the portal:

 

Discount travel deals: fresh deals from many different sites...

Budget travel tips: professional advice on cost reduction...

Rare destinations: great places to visit that few people know...

 

Trip Tonix - Easy travel portal

 

 

 

 

Become a more efficient traveler

 

We spend so much time on the internet looking for the services we need... What if we could have them all in one?

 

Flux Travel - Comprehensive portal & travel directory

The complete travel portal with all you need: online booking, discussion forum, travel agent reviews, travel guides, the web's biggest travel directory and a lot more!

 

Check out the main topics for detailed information:

 

Online booking: get beamed to where you can buy services..

Travel directory: listings of well-selected travel sites...

Travel planning: create your trip with professional help...

Travel guides: join the free travel community...

 

Flux Travel - Rich travel portal!

  

 

  

 

Terms of usePrivacy policyDisclaimerContributorsPartnersAbout usContact us