How do you think the Easter Island heads got there?

So this is my first post on SDMB. Hi!

I think that it is probably the coolest and most immaculate mystery that the Easter Island heads have actually have been excavated to the point where they have discovered the remaining submerged part of the structures.

However, I Googled “Easter Island heads” on images and saw that some of the first pictures show the excavated structures and its not such secret anymore.

So folks, how do you think they got there? What are your theories? Hell, what do you even think they are? Are they wonders?

According to this wiki on the moai, half of them are still in the quarry where they were carved. The rest were hauled to where they are now, but the wiki doesn’t speculate as to how.

Scientists have been intensively studying the moai for many years and have solid archaeological evidence for them. Interestingly, the Wikipediapage is the best summary I could find in a quick online search.

Although lots of articles in 2015 talked about the excavation of the underground “bodies,” the Easter Island Statue Project has been uncovering them for years. Note that it’s led by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, probably the leading expert on the subject.

They are wonders, in that many human achievements are wonders. I hate to burst your bubble, but humans have been capable of such wonders for many thousands of year all over the globe. They can and should be celebrated for what they are and what they accomplished.

What were you hoping for?

I am not sure if you are asking about the heads themselves, or some submerged “structure”?

I think it’s pretty much accepted they were quarried locally on the island and moved into place using ropes, logs, and brute strength. The accepted theory is the natives used all the trees on the island for the purpose of statue moving, thus denigrating their environment to the point of societal collapse, around the time of the first European visit. Easter Island is often referenced as an analogy to worldwide environmental issues.

Here’s a video showing one of the proposed methods of “walking” the moai, as they are called, into place.

Wikipedia has a decent overview of Rapa Nuihistory and that of the moai, for light, informative reading.

Edit - wiki links ninja’d by others here.

It turns out that they aren’t just heads: they’re entire statues that were set up on underground pedestals and then buried up to their necks.

I got lost for the last half hour on several wiki pages regarding Easter Island and the statues (there’s even a wiki page just for the pedestals). Somewhere on one of those pages there’s a very detailed speculation on how there got there. They suggest that ropes were put around them and a team of people rocked them back and forth while another team of people pulled on the ropes and ‘walked’ them into place.
Cracks and missing pieces of rock as well fallen statues on the way to their final resting spots back this up (or rather those are probably clues that they used to come up with the theory).

ETA, this is on the page you linked to

the statues got there by walking. PBS did a show on it. Pretty interesting process. The statue was designed to be walked from the quarry using ropes held by groups of people who rock it in a stepping motion.

Moderator Action

While this is partially factual, the OP is also seeking opinions, so let’s move this to IMHO.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

Black women.

I read this in high school 40 years ago, and it had a pretty good account of the history of the island: Aku Aku

I think the Easter Islanders made the statues and put them there. Why would anyone think anything different?

Anyone who’s moved a large piece of furniture can figure this out, really. You can “walk” a lot of things that are vastly too heavy to pick up.

the real question is “why”? This was an extremely poor island group of (at most) a few thousand people. How do you get them to devote hundreds of hours of backbreaking labor to put these things up? I can see people getting together to build houses of worship, community owned buildings…but something abstract like the Moa? Incidentally, it seems that Easter island got progressively worse…by the time Admiral Roogeveen landed in the early 1700s, there were only a few hundred people living there. Is the present government reforesting the land?

It’s because they were on an Island. What else would they do? We don’t know how they originally got there, but the remoteness of the island means they probably had no idea how to go anywhere else. Over generations they probably lost the story of how they got there in the first place and then had to create culture based on their isolation. Whatever the purpose intended for the statutes it doesn’t seem unreasonable as the practice of an isolated island people like that.

[Post #2, all too easy…]

So can we conclude the Easter Islanders gave good head?

Fleeing this thread now.

This wont show up on phones, mine at least, unless u quote it. :confused:

Is that u, Lumpy?

I don’t see how a house of worship is any less abstract than a humanoid statue of a deity (or similar). In any case, making and hauling Moa was something of a fad. They started out modest and became a contest to out-do the neighbors with bigger and more intricate statues. It may have been something to put a growing population on an over crowded island to work.

Simple: excess productive capacity, and vanity. If you live in a place where food is plentiful (either because of fertile soils or abdundant wild resources) and there are no threats that require defense (unruly neighbors or predators), you generally find yourself with some leisure time.

Today, we live in democracies where we decide what to do with our excess productive capacity on our own. TV, sports, video games, happy hour, and so on. In less enlightened societies, there were people that made those decisions for you - and quite frequently they decided to build great big statutes of themselves, or temples (which were often also really dedicated to themselves), or to go find other places to conquer.

Or all of the above.