Scientists Finally Discovered the Truth About Easter Island

There is more to the iconic Easter Island heads than meets the eye. This funny image with two of the famous Easter Island statues sitting with their body and folded arms under the ground is not as far from reality as one might think.

At least on photographs and videos, we have all seen the famous pictures of the Easter Island heads. However, not many of us are aware that those heads actually conceal buried remains. See more photos of the Easter Island statues below.

According to Van Tilburg, a researcher at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles, “The reason people think they are [only] heads is there are about 150 statues buried up to the shoulders on the slope of a volcano, and these are the most famous, most beautiful and most photographed of all the Easter Island statues. This suggested to people who had not seen photos of [other unearthed statues on the island] that they are heads only.”

It was photographs of Tilburg’s 2010 excavations of two of the statues’ buried bodies that sparked online interest in the missing halves of these ancient sculptures.

The Easter Island bodies were news to us, but apparently this is not a recent discovery. According to Live Science, researchers have actually been aware of the bodies since archaeological investigation on the island, which is located 2,000 miles west of Chile, started more than a century ago, in 1914. Photos of the statues under excavation first appeared in May of that year.

The heads had been covered by successive mass transport deposits on the island that buried the statues lower part. As the islands naturally aged and eroded over the years, these occurrences engulfed the statues and gradually buried them to their heads.

A total of almost 1,000 statues on the small Pacific Island have been documented and studied in the framework of the project which spanned 9 years. The team determined, as far it was possible, the meaning, function and history of each individual statue.

Here is how the renowned statues were carved, to wrap things up. The one below was carved but never put up; it would have been 72 feet tall and weighed more than two Boeing 737s (the biggest structure currently standing is 33 feet high).

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