Happy Easter (Island)!

Ah yes, Easter! During this time, some may pursue the elusive rabbit which magically lays painted eggs filled with chocolate (the physics of this phenomenon boggles my mind). However, I prefer to ponder a different art form related to the word “Easter;” namely, the Moai statues on Easter Island.

On this isolated Polynesian island in the Pacific Ocean there are over 800 monolithic stone statues called Moai, created between 1100-1680 CE. Forget the unlikely marvel of a random rabbit laying chocolate eggs (which cause cavities anyway) and let us admire these fantastic human feats. Most of these statues are carved from compressed volcanic ash and carved with stone hand chisels. That’s it! No electricity, no metal, no internet wiki-how articles. A single Moai took a team of 5-6 men about 1 year to complete. I can’t even wait 1 minute for my email to open.

The Moai represent the deceased head of a lineage and can include a giant head, torso, and sometimes a full body. They were created at a quarry then transported to different parts of the island. With the largest of these weighing in at 82 tons, transportation would have been an amazing feat prior to the invention of the automobile. One possible means of moving these statues was with a Y-shaped sledge with cross pieces, pulled with ropes made from bark and tied around the statues neck. Between 180 to 250 men helped pull a single statue. Another possible method might have been attaching ropes to the statue, rocking it, and tugging it forward as it rocked. This second method could have been performed with only 15 people and would fit the legend that the Moai “walked” to their final locations.

Forget the magical rabbit that breaks into your home to leave you candy. Instead, while you munch on that bar of Easter chocolate, take a moment today to marvel at the creative determination and team work that resulted in a man-made marvel. These sculptures were created without the comforts of modern technology, have withstood the test of time, and serve as a testament to the resourcefulness of mankind. Happy Easter (Island)!

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