by Viktor Gmyria © 2017
A row of fifteen standing moai, the famous stone statues of Easter Island in the South Pacific.
The moai represent the heads of various Easter Island lineages. 887 of them have been found so far, all dated to the period 1100–1680 CE. A quarter of them are found on sacred stone platforms known as ahu; more than half of them never left the quarry where they were carved (mostly by hand); and the remainder were apparently abandoned on the way to their destinations. Although they’re known colloquially as the “Easter Island heads”, most of the statues do in fact have torsos to the tops of their legs, although a few are kneeling and hold their hands to their belly.
Easter Island is known in the local language as Rapa Nui, the name the language itself also goes by. Approximately 6,600 people live there. It’s been a Chilean possession since 1888, but mainland Chile is nearly 3,600 km (2,200 miles) away. The closest inhabited island is Pitcairn, about 2,100 km (1,300 miles) away, with just 50 inhabitants.