GEORGE HOLTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE HOLTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Easter Island. A burial beneath a fallen Moai, stone statue, of a ruined ahu. Moai are monolithic human figures carved from rock on the Chilean Polynesian island of Easter Island between the years 1250 and 1500. Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island's perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-fifths the size of their bodies. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna). The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island, but most would be cast down during later conflicts between clans. Ahu are stone platforms. Varying greatly in layout, many were reworked during or after the huri mo'ai or statue-toppling era and many became ossuaries. An ossuary is a chest, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place of.
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