The history of Easter Island and the famed Moai includes a lot of guesswork, according to my three Rapa Nui guides. Until Moai became protected as a World Heritage site, many of them were stolen by tourists and taken home as souvenirs. Archeologists believe the Moai were constructed between 1080 to 1200 AD. Internal tribal warfare destroyed many of the original 800. They were constructed to honor ancestors and were erected between the ocean and the villages, facing inland so they could watch over and protect their progeny. Each Moai is constructed in three parts and each part comes from a different sector of the island. The face and torso came mostly from the area pictured below:
I suppose these torsos are “leftovers” that never managed to be transferred to their buried pedestals and erected in a burial mound. There are various theories about how they were transported: by a sled on wheels or something similar. Here is another impressive torso, carved but never freed from its base so it is resting here eternally:
The topknot of the statue is the hair, styled in a traditional Rapa Nui manner for men.
My male guide showed me how to put his hair up into the topknot. As you can see from the stone below, the stone for the topknot is of a different color, almost red. And these stones are of a different material coming from a quarry in another part of the island.
The internet is intermittent here on Easter Island. It is my intent to send out more posts when I return to Santiago this afternoon. My blog manager informed me that she thinks my blog subscribe function is repaired. Here’s hoping!