Easter Island heads have bodies – old news go polemic world-wide

Moai statue being excavated in Rano Raraku by Jo Anne Van Tilburg.
Moai statue being excavated in Rano Raraku by Jo Anne Van Tilburg.

A while back, polemic news of “Easter Island heads having bodies” were spread all over internet, though we have known this for hundreds of years. The first Europeans that reached this island in 1722 saw this when they discovered the island, and it has been known ever since.

Many had seen images of moai statues in the volcanic statue quarry Rano Raraku where the bodies of the statues are buried into the ground. This, in conjunction with photos of American archaeologist Jo Anne Val Tilburg‘s excavations in the same area uncovering a statue made many draw conclusions that statues having bodies was recently discovered. On the contrary, we have known this since Europeans first visited this island in 1722.

La Perouse drawing, 1786, Easter Island
We have known for hundreds of years that Easter Island moai statues have bodies.

Tongariki, Easter Island moai statues of Ahu Tongariki
Full bodies are visible when Easter Island moai statues stand erected on the platforms.

Rano Raraku moai statue quarry
Bodies of moai statues in quarry Rano Raraku are buried, which doesn’t mean that the bodies aren’t there.

Marcus Edensky

Marcus is owner of local Rapa Nui travel agency Easter Island Travel. He is one of the few foreigners that has learnt to speak Rapa Nui fluently. He is founder of local Easter Island newspaper Tāpura Re'o - the only newspaper written entirely in Rapa Nui language.

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