Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Easter Island Rocks

The road up to Rano Raraku, the quarry from which all the moai (stone statues) were carved. Rano Raraku was hands down the coolest thing we saw on the island (or ever, possibly).

Completed and half-buried moai along the outer rim of the quarry. There are moai all around the island-- some close to the quarry, others miles away.

An especially charismatic moai.

There are only a few roads outside of town, some were paved, but most weren't. We saw lots of wild horses and a few cows.

Ahu Tongariki. The largest re-constructed ahu on the island, with 15 moai (ahu is sort of like a shrine and is the flat thing on which the moai stand). It's hard to tell from this picture just how big the moai are, but the tallest one is 46 ft, the shortest is 18 ft, and the average weight per moai is 40 tons. By the time European explorers made it to Easter Island (18th century or so) all of the moai and ahu had been toppled as a result of tribal conflict. So all of the moai on Ahu Tongariki and other ahus on the island are standing today because of archaeological restoration.

All of the moai are different. Some have pukao (topknots or hats), which were carved from red volcanic rock from a different quarry called Puna Pao. It blows my mind to think that the natives transported moai from one quarry miles away and pukao from another quarry miles in the other direction, and erected the moai with pukao on top (somehow it fit!), all without the help of wheels or working animals (the horses are believed to have been brought by the Spanish).

A rainbow after one of the many showers on the island.

Sunset at Ahu Tahai.

5 comments:

creative-type dad said...

Wow!

Simple amazing..

junebee said...

That is so cool, there those guys stand for all those thousands of years. Maybe they are waiting for someone to come back for them.

MK said...

Great photography. BTW, did you read "Collapse" by Jared Diamond? There is a long chapter on the decline of Easter Island culture.

kazumi said...

That's amazing! Great pics too..

JEM said...

your pics are AWESOME!!!!!!