Easter Island’s ’Walking’ Stone Heads Stir Debate
2013-06-10 0:00

By Tia Ghose | LiveScience



An idea suggesting massive stone statues that encircle Easter Island may have been "walked" into place has run into controversy.

In October 2012, researchers came up with the "walking" theory by creating a 5-ton replica of one of the statues (or "moai"), and actually moving it in an upright position, and have published a more thorough justification in the June issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science. If the statues were walked into place, then the islanders didn’t need to cut down the island’s palm trees to make way for moving the massive carvings, the researchers argue.

The findings may help dismantle the traditional storyline of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui: that a "crazed maniacal group destroyed their environment," by cutting down trees to transport gigantic statues, said study co-author Carl Lipo, an anthropologist at California State University, Long Beach.

But not everyone in the field is convinced. While some experts find the demonstration persuasive, others think it’s unlikely the large statues could have been walked upright on the island’s hilly, rough terrain.

Ancient enigma

Rapa Nui’s majestic rock statues (also known as Stone Heads of Easter Island) have been a mystery since Europeans first arrived in the 1700s on the island, located in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Chile. Though the island was filled with a giant palm forest when Polynesians first arrived in the 13th century, the first European explorers found massive megaliths on a deforested, rock-strewn island with just 3,000 people.

In the past, archaeologists proposed that a lost civilization chopped down all the trees to make paths to roll the megalithic structures horizontally for miles on top of palm trees used as "rolling logs" of sorts, from the quarries where they were created to ceremonial platforms. That transport method would have required many people, and led to deforestation and environmental ruin that would’ve caused the population to plummet.

Walking statues

But Lipo and his colleagues wondered whether that made sense. For one, other archaeological evidence in villages suggested the island’s population was never that large, and the palm trees, essentially hardwood with a soft, foamy material inside, would be crushed by the rolling statues, Lipo said.

Along the road to the platforms are moai whose bases curved so they couldn’t stand upright, but instead would topple forward, meaning the ones in transit would have to be modified once they reached the platform. That made the researchers wonder why the statues weren’t made to stand upright in the first place if they were meant to be rolled into place, not walked, Lipo said

And the statues found on the roads to the platforms all had wider bases than shoulders, which physical models suggested would help them rock forward in an upright position.

[...]

Read the full article at: livescience.com

READ: How Easter Island’s statues walked



Related Articles
New and Surprising Discoveries about Mysterious Easter Island Statue: Origin of the Birdman Cult
Easter Island archaeology project digs up island’s bodies
Easter Island Heads: Body excavation continues
The mystery of Easter Island endures amid debate


Latest News from our Front Page

Dead LA man who had 1,200 guns, underwater car identified; believed to be 'part alien' secret government worker
2015-07-27 23:42
The mystery behind a Los Angeles gun fanatic found decomposing in a car last week has deepened as his fiancée's family said he was an alien-hybrid secretly working for the government. The bizarre statement came Wednesday as the betrothed woman's lawyer identified the dead man as Jeffrey Alan Lash — almost one week after he was discovered rotting in his car ...
Britain Under Siege: Hundreds of Illegals Storm Eurotunnel Every Night
2015-07-27 22:45
The volume of illegals trying to gain access to the United Kingdom via the railway tunnel beneath the English Channel is now so great, hundreds storm the French terminal every night. Hoping to stow away on-board lorries or to ‘train surf’ to England, the migrants – of which there are an estimated 5,000 in the town of Calais at any one ...
Detroit's black rape gangs target couples
2015-07-27 22:53
Victims forced into alleys, men made to watch sex assault on female companions In a developing story, a gang of rapists in Detroit is terrorizing citizens in the crime-ridden city. Detroit police are looking for as many as six suspects after two rape and robbery incidents occurred on Thursday night within hours of each other. The same group may be responsible ...
Satanic statue unveiled in Detroit
2015-07-27 21:13
Christians protest after the Satanic Temple unveils bronze Baphomet statue featuring a human body, goat’s head and wings. Several hundred people have attended a Mass at a US Catholic church to protest against an eight and a half-foot (2.6-metre)-tall bronze statue of Satan that hundreds of people also lined up to see. The Satanic Temple had said it would unveil the ...
India's prime minister endorses call for Britain to pay reparations for colonial rule
2015-07-27 21:34
Narendra Modi supports impassioned Shashi Tharoor’s call for colonial ruler Britain to make reparations to India India’s prime minister has praised an opposition MP who made an impassioned appeal for Britain to pay reparations for 200 years of colonial rule. Narendra Modi said Shashi Tharoor’s speech at the Oxford Union, which was posted online last week, “reflected the feelings of patriotic ...
More News »