What Happened Here?: Easter Island, Chile, Jan. 25, 2007

This is a picture of my husband, David, next to a top knot that once crowned a statue on Easter Island. To give some perspective, David is a bit over 6 feet, one inch tall.
It’s impossible not to wonder what happened here when looking at these fallen statues, known as moai (pronounced mow-eye). What wealth the people of this island once had. They were able to free up enough workers from fishing and farming for generations to develop a class of artisans with the skill needed to make these statues, some more than a dozen feet tall. And, they made hundreds of them.
So much time and such resources devoted to worshipping ancestors, which is what these statues represent. The people of Rapa Nui seem to have worn out the island’s trees with their mania for moai, likely using up their forests to roll the statues into place.
When Europeans arrived in the 18th century, they found a civilization reduced back toward hunter-gatherer status. Rapa Nui has been plundered of its treasures. Museums far across the oceans now have its rongo rongo tablets, which are written in a language developed on Rapa Nui, as well as the island’s fine carvings and even some moai. While many of the statues on the island have been restored, others are in heartbreaking shape. Tossed from their platforms by storms or toppled in wars, some still rest face down with broken necks.

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2 thoughts on “What Happened Here?: Easter Island, Chile, Jan. 25, 2007

  1. You guys are so lucky. I wish to hellll I could go traveling around the world. You’re friends among the Bloomborg miss you, Doolio. Jef Feeley out.

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