Easter Island statues ‘have bodies too’

Melbourne, September 22: A dig at Rano Raraku, the mine where Easter Island’s statues were hewn out of rock, is casting new light on a remarkable discovery forgotten for decades.

In 1919, pictures of the first excavations by the Mana Expedition of Easter Island revealed that some statues were full sized.

The discovery was confirmed in 1955 by the explorer Thor Heyerdahl when his Norwegian Archaeological Expedition excavated a statue.

Over subsequent decades, the discoveries were gradually forgotten, known by archaeologists but not by tourists, who began visiting the island when flights between Santiago and Tahiti, via Easter Island, began in the 1990s.

Now, a team of local archaeologists is working to unlock the secrets of their mysterious island.

Led by UCLA archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg, director of the Easter Island Statue Project, they have excavated two seven metre tall, full-size statures, estimated to weigh about 20 tonnes.

“It is vital to have a good record of the statues,” News.com.au quoted EISP’s director Jo Anne Van Tilburg as saying.

“What they look like, where they are found, and how they relate to the sites on which they are found. It is also essential to amass a catalog of the statues as artifacts in order to preserve them for future generations,” Van added. (ANI)