A new Moai statue has been discovered on Easter Island following an episode of drought

Author: Clark Tos
2023-02-28 20:38:03

Following a drought on Easter Island, archaeologists discovered a new Moai statue in a lake that had drained of its water. A find that could be the first of a long series.

Easter Island is a volcanic island located in Chile, which is protected and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is mainly known for its large Moai statues, which are a major draw for tourists.

Moai statues represent faces carved in stone. They were created by an indigenous Polynesian tribe more than 500 years ago and were dedicated to ancestral worship. These statues represent giants in human form with their backs to the ocean and which served to celebrate the gods of the population of the Easter island .

Photo credit: iStock

Today, there are nearly 1,000 statues on the island. They all weigh between 3 and 5 tons and the largest is 10 meters high.

“The Moai are important because they truly represent the history of the Rapa Nui people. They were the deified ancestors of the islanders. They are emblematic all over the world and represent the fantastic archaeological heritage of the island” , said Terry Hunt, professor of archeology at the University of Arizona.

A new Moai statue discovered

While we thought we had found all the statues on the island, a new one was discovered in a dry lake. The announcement was made by Salvador Atan Hiton, the vice president of Ma'u Henua, an indigenous organization that oversees the island's national park.

Photo credit: iStock

This statue, smaller than the others, is the first discovery in a dry lake. This finding is a consequence of climate change in the region, which is facing more and more periods of droughts . If these persist, archaeologists could discover other statues still unknown.

“In the drought conditions we are currently experiencing, we could find more. This statue was hidden by the tall reeds that grow in the lake bed, and prospecting with something that can detect what's below the ground's surface may tell us that there are actually more Moai in the lake bed sediments. When there is a Moai in the lake, there are probably more » , speculated archaeologist Terry Hunt.

This discovery is important for the indigenous Rana Nui community and for archaeologists who hope to find other statues as well as the tools that were used to carve them.

Source : Art News