Statues known as the Moai (or living face of our ancestors) found on the Easter Island is definitely one of the leading history’s mysteries. Easter Islands is one of the remotest islands on Earth, it is situated 2,300 miles from the coast of Chile and 2500 miles from Tahiti. Even the closest island is about 1400 miles away. Easter Island is still uninhabited. In 1722 the Easter Islands was discovered by a Dutch captain and hence started the speculation. The Dutch found hundreds of giant statues that stood more than 30 feet tall and weighed many tons. Though the Dutch confronted a band of primitive settlers on the island but the statues were much advanced then the people themselves. This started the speculation as to how and who build these statues.
Some people have even given the credits of these Moai to the aliens. They have their own reasons too. According to the recent research and excavations it has been revealed that the Easter Islanders had an unique language and knew how to write. If we consider the vicinity of Easter Islands then the Americans did not know the art of writing as early as the times of the Moai, neither did the Polynesians, so who taught the Easter Islanders to write? Some researchers though feel that the Easter Islanders were expert seafarers and were able of travelling thousands of miles on their canoes. There are also theories that the statues were perhaps brought from Chile itself. But these theories can be debunked as there have been no signs of large ships found on the Island. The Moai were definitely built in the island itself. May be this was a form of art that was exclusive to the Easter Islanders.
Recent researches show that the statues were built near a stone mine and then they were transported to the centre of the Island near the edge of the volcano. Volcano was conceived to a path leading to the underworld and thus the natives wanted to keep it quite. Roughly 1,000 Moai present at Easter Islands can be divided into two groups – while some statues have large ears there are others that have small ears. Long eared statues were those that belonged to the ruling class while short eared were the earliest settlers and the working class. Some scholars also feel that the statues were erected to commemorate the reign of a certain ruler. While others feel that building the statues with stones was a burial custom of the inhabitants.
Another controversy has arisen with the placement of these statues. These statues were very heavy and fragile too. So how could the natives move it from the outer parts of the island to the centre? According a recently deciphered text the statues walked themselves. After years of research it has been confirmed that these statues were moved from one place to the other with the use of several large wooden logs. Entire population used to get at work in a bid to move these large objects. The rocking motion of the statue moving has been mentioned as the statue walking.
In regards to the decline of such a well established civilization there have been many theories. But the leading theory states that the Easter Islanders lived happily and had many trees all through the island. But they rapidly cut the trees in order to move the statues and various other reasons. There came a stage when there were no trees left on the island. The staple food of the islanders came from the sea, when they were not able to drive out into the sea they gradually became cannibals eating each other. Violence spread large on the islands. Some scholars also contribute a damaging tsunami or volcanic eruption for the demise of the inhabitants of Easter Islands.