Discovering More than Heads on Easter Island
It is but a tiny dot lost in the middle of the gargantuan South Pacific Ocean, yet there rests one of the great mysteries of all time. The monolithic stone heads actually have revealed a marvel that few have even thought about. In 1919, it was discovered that, beneath the surface, the great faces of Easter Island had bodies. Many of the unearthed statues are over twenty feet tall. There are 887 of them and recent digs have revealed just how awe inspiring they are.
The full sized statues were first uncovered in 1919 and then later confirmed in 1955 by the legendary Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. A team of archaeologists from UCLA have recently been working a project determined to reveal the secrets of these amazing carvings. The island originally got its name because of its founding on Easter Sunday in 1722 by the Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen.
It is traditionally believed that the island was originally populated by a great migration of Polynesians seeking colonies. How the statues were made and how the great blocks of stone were moved remains a mystery to scientists. Another mystery involves what happened to the inhabitants. When Captain James Cook got there in 1774, he found that the population had descended into cannibalism. It is believed that the population had grown to around 7000 or so and that there was great competitiveness among them especially with regard to the building of the statues.
It is further thought that the island became deforested and that agriculture had failed to sustain the population. No matter what the argument, all agree that the Easter Island monoliths are truly one of the wonders of the world.