A tiny pinprick in the great Pacific, Easter Island is actually a mound of consolidated lava and ash from three submarine volcanoes. Since its ‘discovery’ in 1722 the island has been a place of intrigue. Easter Island’s greatest phenomenon are the nearly 100-ton basalt sculptures, the Moai. Little is known about the Moai and their creators.
PBS’s NOVA is taking on some of the island’s unknown in their feature “Mystery of Easter Island” — airing on November 7, 2012 at 9:00 PM. A group of scientists and volunteers will test a theory on how the giant Moai were moved by using a 15-ton replica (remember — some of these statues weighed nearly 100-ton). Along with addressing how and why the islanders built and moved the nearly 900 Moai, the NOVA feature will also discuss:
[H]ow did [the ancient islanders] transform a presumed paradise into a treeless wasteland, bringing ruin upon their island and themselves? NOVA explores controversial recent claims that challenge decades of previous thinking about the islanders, who have been accused of everything from ecocide to cannibalism.
An Easter Island tour offers an up-close look at the Moai and this fascinating island. Travelers can explore Orongo village. Partially restored, the village has 48 buildings of overlapping stone slabs. Over the cliffs is a string of “bird man” petroglyphs. And at the volcanic crater of Rano Raraku, travelers have the chance to see where the Moai were cut from volcanic tuff. Some 150 figures remain in all stages of completion. Easter Island is puzzling place that continues to both mystify and intrigue us. Oh, and not to mention, this volcanic island is equally stark and stunning.