Thursday, June 24, 2010

Photos of Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

The crater of extinct volcano Ranokau, one of the few water sources on the island.

Orongo, site of many stone shelters such as this.  By far the most substantial structures remaining on the island.
Ahu Vinapu.  This statue has been buried upright, probably to protect it from breakage.  The platform behind has some fine stonework.  Our guide said this prompted Captain Cook to blow it up, looking for gold. 
A pukao, or "topknot".  These were placed on the top of the moai (statues), and are believed to represent the typical hairstyle.  We were amazed at how shallow the bottoms are - it takes some good balance to keep them on top of the moai.
Fallen moai.  The moai contained the "mana", or prestige of the men they were modelled after.  Enemies would topple the moai in order to try and break the heads off, which would release the mana.

Restored moai near the town of Hanga Roa.

Restored ahu (platform) and moai at Anakena Beach.  These are particularly well-preserved - they were buried in the beach sand for many years.  Also one of the many free-range horses found on the island.
Moai at Anakena Beach.

Showing detail of carved tatoos and rope (to tie clothing) on the back of a moai.

Ana Te Pahu, a large cave system that was home to many natives.  Openings in the cavern were used as gardens.  Even today we saw taro, bananas, and grapes growing. 
A cave where residents hid from slaving expeditions.  The entrance had been filled in and hidden with rocks, leaving only a small passageway.
Ahu Tongariki, with 15 standing moai, is the largest shrine on the island.
Ahu Tongariki, an impressive row of moai.  Note the hawk seated on the moai 5th from the left.

Ahu Tongariki.

Although they look like they are lying in state, these moai were in the process of being born when work ceased at Rano Raraku, the quarry where the moai were created.

Work in progress at Rano Raraku.  Tana providing some scale.
Moai seeming to sprout from the ground at Rano Raraku.

Zane with a moai that fell during transport.  It is believed that the moai were transported standing upright.  If they fell over, that was the end of the journey.


  1. what the F is your name i need to use it for a dumb paper about easter island!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!