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 The Sentinels 

 

The giant stone heads of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, as the natives call home, rank as one of the great wonders of the world.  The Island, measuring approximately 14 by 7 miles, sits alone in the middle of the South Pacific. Formed of volcanic lava spewing from the ocean’s floor some 2 ˝ million years ago, it houses nearly 900 gigantic stone statures, called Moai. The average size is 13 feet and weigh 14 tons, but some stand as high as 32 feet tall and weigh 82 tons. Many have cylindrical topknots made of red stone, weighing as much as 12 tons, and measuring 6 feet high by 8 feet wide. Inside the rim of the inactive volcano, Rano Raraku, remain nearly 400 giant heads, carved from volcanic rock, in various stages of construction.

The Moai, symbolize all that is remote and exotic. Many theories exist to explain the enormous statues. One theory is that they were built by a race of giants standing 12 feet tall with superhuman strength. Or possibly, aliens from other worlds with flying ships placed the stones. Perhaps the island is a remnant of the sunken continent of Mu, counterpart of Atlantis.

A more probable explanation exists. The people of Rapa Nui, sailed from Polynesia 1,500 years ago, and while living in isolation from the rest of the world, created their own culture. When Europeans arrived on Easter Day in 1722, the inhabitants indicated that their ancestors carved the stones as memorials to great chiefs.

Each year, at the height of the ancient Rapa Nui civilization, a chief held the honor of representing the Great Creator God. His clan ruled for that year and he remained magically powerful for the rest of his life. When he died his clan erected a stone figure in his memory so that he continued to gaze over the land and protect it with his supernatural power. Eventually, over-population, poverty, and hunger led to clan wars. Believing that the clan’s power came from these statues, the victors toppled the statues of the vanquished.

Many of the statues have since been excavated and stood upright again. And the Great Creator God continues to watch over Rapa Nui through “The Sentinels.”

 

 

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Sharon Talley

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