The A to Z Challenge – E for Easter Island Moai

The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy and I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.


Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter E ~
E for Easter Island Moai

The ancestors of the Polynesians reached the far corner of the triangular Pacific island territory that made up their world at about 1000 BCE. These peoples were nighttime seafarers and followed the heavens until they chanced upon a remote land mass and made it their home. We know that land as Easter Island.

It’s said the island once had a thriving population, as many as 15,000 inhabitants. Just 100 years before the Dutch arrived in 1722, the history of the island says two factions –the Short-Ears and the Long-Ears– had a civil war. In 1770 a Spanish expedition found a population of 3000.  Just four years later when British navigator Sir James Cook entered the scene, only around 600 men and fewer than 30 women remained. By 1877 only 111 native peoples were left. Were I to guess, I’d say diseases like smallpox contributed to the population’s decline. Any western disease to an isolated population would exact a terrible toll.

Before the Dutch decided to name the island for Easter Sunday, the day of their discovery, oral tradition says one of the island’s names was Eyes looking to the sky. Others use the name Rapa Nui. I think Eyes looking to the sky fits beautifully because of more than 1000 Moai — the famous Easter Island heads.

Surprising fact #1: The familiar heads are actually full-bodied statues buried to their chins in sediment. Recent archeological digs reveal the Moai have arms and wear sculpted clothing. They have tattoos too.

Who knew?

With their heavy brows and chiseled profiles (no pun intended), these enigmatic statues epitomize the mystery of the place. All but seven watch over the land, their backs to the sea. The seven facing the vast blue ocean are thought to wait for their king. No one really knows why they’re there or what was meant in their creation. There’s an assumption that the  Moai were made in the likenesses of ancestors. There is also some thought that the bodies housed the essence of the sacred. One of the more interesting bits of information I’ve uncovered has to do with Leprosy. There’s some opinion that the Moai’s severe physical features may indicate the ravages of that terrible disease — that perhaps the Moai were made to ritually undo the effects in the spirit world. (Apparently the afflicted were ostracized on other Polynesian islands.) As I haven’t uncovered more than that regarding leprosy, I’ll take that supposition with a grain of salt.

Another mystery is the complete lack of trees. Islands by nature are fragile ecosystems. By the time of European discovery, this one was deforested. To peoples relying upon the sea for most of their food, lack of wood would mean starvation in the long run. Perhaps this added to their population decline. If you can’t build boats, you can’t fish beyond the shoreline.  Were the island’s forests cut down to make transport logs for the 13 ton Moai? That was the prevailing thought for years. But then someone made an brilliant deduction…

Surprising fact #2
Legend says the Moai walked from the places they were carved. That’s right, the 13 foot tall, 13 ton statues carved from volcanic tuff walked to their resting places. The largest statue made of a single block weighs about 82 tons and is approximately 32 feet tall. To see that walking down from the hills must have been a powerful sight.

 I can’t explain it better than this. And seeing is believing!

Easter Island was made an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

See the full uncovered Moai
Save the Easter Island Statues

An interesting explanation of the island’s Bird Man Cult

Come back tomorrow for my Funday Sunday post. The A to Z returns Monday with letter F!


Join me on my satellite blog April 7th – 12thAuthors_in_Bloom-300x250
Authors’ lives outside of the books we write can be as interesting as the worlds we create. One of the more unusual things my husband and I have done was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum. For this event I’ll be sharing my recipes. I hope you stop by. You may have delicious ingredients waiting in your backyard. 🙂


One week to go in the 100 Things Blogging Challenge!002xbqkt
For nearly 100 days,
I’ve post something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 7 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

Dodrantal (adjective 1656-1883)
~of nine inches in length


4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them.


Love Waits in Unexpected Places –
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small




About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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9 Responses to The A to Z Challenge – E for Easter Island Moai

  1. rosgemmell says:

    Aren’t they fantastic, Rose – one of the most fascinating sites (and sights) of past civilisation. Didn’t know that about the buried parts!

    • I agree. And their bottoms are rounded to facilitate the rocking motion needed to walk. We always assume stone age people were intellectually less than us some how. The ancient wonders always proves otherwise.

  2. Ray G says:

    I recall seeing a movie, Rapa Nui aboard ship and again on TV. The story of Easter Island is fascinating regardless of the version given.

  3. melissakeir says:

    Easter Island is a fascinating place. I’d love to visit it someday. Thanks for sharing your knowledge about the island.

  4. skmarshall2014 says:

    Do you suppose the aliens moved the stone statues? That seems to be the thought for Stonehenge. My hubby watches a lot of television about Aliens. Wink! Another wonderful interesting article, Rose.

    • It makes me wonder if the stones at Stonehenge walked too.
      🙂 Has he seen the Egyptian hieroglyphs that look like spaceships and helicopters? That’s something the imagination can run with!

  5. I love watching the series Ancient Aliens. They come up with the most amazing theories on all these topics. I’ve always been intrigued by Rapa Nui.

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