The Moai statues of Easter Island tell a tragic tale that caused the destruction of the peoples living in the island. But before they inevitably fell to ruin, why did the Rapa Nui people build these statues in the first place? Researchers may have an answer.
Researchers say they have analysed the locations of the megalithic platforms, or ahu, on which many of the statues known as moai sit, as well as scrutinising sites of the island’s resources, and have discovered the structures are typically found close to sources of fresh water.
“What is important about it is that it demonstrates the statue locations themselves are not a weird ritual place – [the ahu and moai] represent ritual in a sense of there is symbolic meaning to them, but they are integrated into the lives of the community,” said Prof Carl Lipo from Binghamton University in New York, who was co-author of the research.
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)