Saturday, November 8, 2014

More Mysteries!

I was pretty proud of this picture I took of the Moai on Ahu Tongariki
So today I actually learned about a real mystery, but the mystery was really just a different way of looking at things.  Today I got to know my Chilean counterpart here on the island.  His name is Jose Miguel and he has been doing archaeology and working on the island for decades, he is currently a professor at the University of Valparaiso.  He pointed out that in his opinion the greatest mystery of the island is not how the statues were transported or carved, that stuff is pretty easy to explain, it's pretty much just mechanics.  What is really mysterious is why they carved the statues completely on the sides and top of a mountain, and then took the finished statues to their destination instead of moving less fragile blocks of rock into place and carving them there.  It would have been much easier and safer.

After all, Michelangelo didn't carve statues at the quarry, he carved them in a studio, where it is easier and safer.  A lot of Rapanui died in order to carve the statues in place, and then a lot of the finished statues broke during the transportation process.  It doesn't make much sense.  There must have been a very important reason that they would do all of the work on the mountain except for the eyes before they transported the statues.  Then they took the statues to their ahus, and only then carved out the eyes to give the statues Mana, supernatural power.

Here is me next to one of the wings of Ahu Tongariki for scale.  The thing is huge.  The platform the statues are on in the middle of the Ahu is the length of a football field by itself.

Here's my Moai impression in front of "the giant" this Moai was never completed, but is over twenty meters long

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