Sunday, May 27, 2012

Easter Island statues had bodies


Archaeologists at the Easter Island Statue Project are digging down below the famous heads and shoulders of the moai. It turns out that the bodies extend far down below.

Thanks, AndyWales

13 comments:

Sara Otterstätter said...

Wow!! That's really amazing! Wouldn't have expected that those are full body statues. They always seemed to look like busts.

But also the detailing is interesting. This loin cloth look a bit like these that sumo ringers wear. And some parts appear to look like some sort of tattoos.

Very interesting. Thanks a lot for posting this news.

Sara

Lee Jerrett said...

curiouser and curiouser... :D

karlsimon said...

why haven't they done this before I wonder?

Ernest Friedman-Hill said...

This was new to me as well when I first saw it, and I agree that the pictures are very cool, and I hate to rain on anybody's parade -- but this has actually been known for many years, and there are actually quite a few statues that have had bodies above ground since time immemorial. See http://www.snopes.com/photos/arts/easterisland.asp for some background info.

jill polsby said...

I'm stunned. So much work has been done on the island, so much has been written about the island and the statues...Why did no one think to dig down a bit just to see how the head was held up all these years? Thank you once again, James, for such an interesting blog.

jill polsby said...

I'm stunned. So much work has been done on the island, so much has been written about the island and the statues...Why did no one think to dig down a bit just to see how the head was held up all these years? Thank you once again, James, for such an interesting blog.

David S. said...

This is not news! They did "do this before"! People have been digging up the buried bodies of Easter Island statues since at least early last century (follow the link in this article and read about it). Several have been fully excavated over the decades and returned to the positions they occupied when they were first carved and erected centuries ago. The ones most often photographed however have been the buried ones, because they are still the most numerous and because they look the most mysterious and impressive presumably.

James Gurney said...

David and Ernest, you're right that it's not news that the Easter Island statues had bodies -- the Easter Island Statue Project outlines the long history of previous excavations and revelations. But according to the EISP site, the current digs reveal new insights about Rapa Nui engineering. I share Sarah and Jill's sense of amazement just to see the costume details and the forms of those statues that were hidden from modern eyes until now.

stefan marjoram said...

It would have been funny if when they got to the bottom they discovered they were wearing roller skates.

Eugene Arenhaus said...

Um... this is not news. The "heads" are the photos of the works-in-progress left buried on the slopes of the stone quarry; the statues that had been installed in the intended locations are all full-bodied.

Although the buried ones at the quarry have had their underground parts protected from erosion, and much less weathered than the exposed rock. So archeologists have been digging them up to research what the finish was like, the finer carving details, etc. They've been doing this on and off for decades.

James Gurney said...

Eugene, this is not a news blog. I just post stuff I find interesting. Some of it is news to me. There's a huge amount of information that I don't know yet.

Eugene Arenhaus said...

Wasn't my intention to burst anyone's joy of new knowledge. :)

I really recommend Thor Heyerdahl's book about his first expedition to Rapanui. Heyerdahl being Heyerdahl, he could not stick just to proper archeology and got into spelunking and impressing the locals into showing him rather unexpected collections of old ritual artwork.

Tayete García Mazariegos said...

What Eugene has said: Thor Heyerdal researched in the 50's not only that the statues had bodies, but could prove how the statues were transported and erected. I cannot remember how they were transported (there were no trees in the island to make logs to roll the statues on), but I remember clearly how they erected one fallen statue (the book "Aku Aku" included some photos about the process): the natives started putting small stones under the statue. It was surrounded with ropes to pull from it while bigger stones were added every time a single milimeter was gained. After a couple of weeks of adding stones, pulling, adding stones, pulling, etc... the statue was completely vertical. No aliens were harmed in the operation.
The book is really worth a reading as any of Mr. Heyerdahl. He also wrote "Kon Tiki" about his travel from Perú to Polinesia in a small boat made of herbs.
He was a badass...