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.
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.
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.
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.
of the statues have since been excavated and stood upright again. And
the Great Creator God continues to watch over Rapa Nui through “The
Copyright© 1999/2000 by Sharon Talley. You must obtain written permission of the artist to use any pictures on this site.