Discovering Easter Island statues, illustration

Discovering Easter Island statues, illustration

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Credit: JOHN SIBBICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Discovering Easter Island statues. Illustration showing European sailors discovering half-buried moai statues on Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in the South Pacific. These megalithic statues were carved from volcanic rock by the islanders from 400-1500 AD. Around 1000 statues were carved, with some remaining on the slopes of the volcano where they were carved out of the rock. They are partially covered by soil formed by centuries of erosion. The statues range between 3 and 12 metres in height and weigh up to 85 tonnes. Carving and erection ceased as deforestation led to the total collapse of the island's culture and ecosystem. The first European contact occurred on 5 April 1772 (Easter Sunday). Some statues were later re-erected by archaeologists.

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