Easter Island- World Heritage Site
Easter Island--Rapa Nui is also known as
Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua, meaning ‘The Navel of the World’, and as Mata-Ki-Te-Rani,
meaning ‘Eyes Looking at Heaven’. It is a tiny speck of land in the South
Pacific. Located in the South Pacific between Chile and Tahiti, Easter Island
is one of the most isolated inhabited islands in the world. Roughly triangular and covering only 64 square
miles, it was formed when a plume of hot material rose from deep within Earth's
interior, burned through the crust and erupted onto the surface as lava. Lava
tubes and pounding waves have created hundreds of sea caves and a treacherous
coastline, due to which the island was only inhabited by sea birds and
dragonflies for millions of years.
Easter Island’s silent stone figures are a monument to the
seafaring skills and unique culture of ancient Polynesian peoples.In A.D. 1200
(or thereabouts), a small group of Polynesians, it might have been a single
family who made their way there, settled in and began to farm. When they
arrived, the place was covered with trees as many as 16 million of them, some
towering 100 feet high.
The Polynesian’s culture's most famous features are its
enormous stone statues called moai, at least 288 of which once
stood upon massive stone platforms called Ahu.
These monuments, known, as moai are some of the most incredible
ancient relics ever discovered. The people of Easter Island called themselves
Nui. Soon ahu with erected moai were installed on all corners
of the island, until over one thousand had been carved, and the population of
the island also continued to grow. For decades the competition to build the
biggest and best moai went on, and different ahu - each belonging to a different
clan - formed an almost unbroken line along the coast of Easter Island. Scholars
are unable to definitively explain the function and use of the moai statues. However,
many of the statues have sunk into the earth, with only their heads showing.
There have been many theories to suggest how the Moai
statues were moved from the quarry to their existing location, however, the
most likely scenario is that they were ‘walked’ into place by the use of ropes
with the statue leaning slightly forward and the use of a rocking motion
from side to side, which required approximately 18 people. Around Ten full
Moai statues have been transported to other parts of the world and can be seen
in museums. The most difficult task is to preserve them due to the nature of
their original material. Today's Rapa Nui keep alive their
traditions and stories, however, and archaeological efforts in recent years
have protected the moai from further destruction.
23 Jan 2015