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Easter Island Statues

New Wonder of the World in Chili: The Moai of Easter Island


Mysterious giant stone monoliths called Moai dot the coastline of Easter Island. These ancient statues were finalists in the campaign to choose new World Wonders.
Giant stone statues, or Moai, on Easter Island

Giant stone statues, or Moai, on Easter Island

Press photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld Foundation

About Easter Island:

Location: Isolated island, now owned by Chili, located in the Pacific Ocean, about 2,000 miles (3,200 km) from Chile and Tahiti
Other Names: Rapa Nui; Isla de Pascua (Easter Island is the European name used to describe the inhabited island discovered on Easter Sunday in 1722 by Jacob Roggeveen)
Settled: Polynesians, around 300 AD
Architectural Significance: Between the 10th and 16th centuries, ceremonial shrines (ahu) were built and hundreds of statues (Moai) were erected, carved from porous, volcanic rock (scoria)

About the Statues:

The Moai range in height from 2 meters to 20 meters (6.6 to 65.6 feet) and weigh many tons. They resemble enormous heads with truncated torsos. Some faces were decorated with coral eyes. Archaeologists speculate that the Moai represented a god, a mythical creature, or revered ancestors that protect the island.

Learn About the Eastern Island Moai:

Recommended Reading:

See More Prehistoric Architecture:

See More Big Statues:

Source: Rapa Nui National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, United Nations [accessed August 19, 2013].

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