The mystery of Easter Island…
Brimming with mystique, Easter Island has to be one of the most enigmatic and mystifying places on earth. The magical Moai (statues) watch over the island as if guarding the ancient secrets of those who carved them. Still many questions remain, of which scientists still don’t know the answers.
The Moai (statues) were carved by the Rapa Nui people somewhere around 1250-1500 AD and all have consistent facial characteristics – a large, oversized head with a broad, elongated nose, strong chin, deep, slit eyes and rectangular ears. They also have a heavy, distinct brow and short (if any) neck. Although the statues look like they are just heads, and many people mistakenly think this, the statues actually have full bodies that have been dug into the ground, leaving just the head visible.
Theories abound about how the Moai were moved from the carving site to the ahu, (stone platforms), which is quite some distance away. Some believe ancient Polynesian methods of logs and ropes were used, similar to the methods of bringing canoes out of the water. Oral history says the Moai “walked.” This, combined with the evidence of fallen Moai on the ancient roads, indicate the Moai were upright when they were moved and scientists have done studies that suggests this is entirely possible.
Other mysteries surrounding the island include how the Rapa Nui civilisation crumbled and how the island went from a palm-tree covered isle to having barely any vegetation at all. And what impact did this have on the communities? Some believe the people cut the trees to assist in moving the Moai, others believe it was a combination of clearing areas for farming, rat infestation and lack of seabirds (from excess hunting) that caused these problems.
Many anthropologists believe that the lack of resources then led to unrest between communities and fierce battles, a theory substantiated by the discovery of human remains displaying trauma and evidence of obsidian weapon-type objects.
This is a civilisation that has intrigued scientists and anthropologists for years. The more you discover, the more questions there are to be answered, and the more you learn, the more fascinated you become.
Because of Easter Island’s remote location – 2075km west of Pitcairn Island and 3,526km from the coast of Chile – it’s not on every one’s travel list. It’s not the easiest to get to from Australia or New Zealand as you have to first fly to Papeete and then take the once weekly flight to Easter Island.
The beauty and mystery on Easter Island is not just in the Moai with many beautiful land and seascapes to behold
However, there are a select number of cruise ships that include Easter Island in a handful of itineraries. This is a great way to visit as you can combine it with other destinations such as Pitcairn Island, another intriguing community with incredible history (but that’s for another day).
For example, Crystal Cruises offers an incredible cruise beginning in Chile and visiting Easter Island and Pitcairn Island en route to Tahiti. As well as sailing in absolute luxury, you’ll discover places that few other people ever have the opportunity to visit. Highly educational and visually sensational, this is a cruise that others will only dream of. To check the itinerary out or find out more information about this voyage and Crystal Cruises, you can click here or you can request a call from one of our Ultimate Cruising experts here.
Image credits: Unsplash