WATCH: Did Easter Island’s Famous Statues ‘Walk’?

Researchers demonstrate that ancient Easter Islanders might have used ropes and manpower to "walk" the massive figures to their final resting place

  • Share
  • Read Later
Getty Images

Easter Islanders say the ancient statues "walked" to their final resting place.

How did the ancient monumental statues known as moai reach their final resting place on Polynesia’s Easter Island? Locals say that according to legend, the monolithic statues walked there and researchers now claim that story might be true — to a certain extent.

Archaeologist Carl Lipo of California State University at Long Beach and Hawaii anthropologist Terry Hunt say that ancient Polynesians might have used ropes and manpower to “walk” the massive figures from the quarry to constructed platforms, reports National Geographic magazine. Last year, Hunt and Lipo demonstrated that, with three strong ropes and some practice, as few as 18 people could easily move a 10-ft., 5-ton moai replica a few hundred yards. (Walking the actual statues, which weigh an average of 14 tons, would have been a bit trickier, but the concept is essentially the same.)

Although the experiment doesn’t conclusively solve the mystery of how the statues were moved, it does offer an explanation for the ruined statues that litter the ancient roads of Easter Island; losing control of the ropes would have shattered the figures, and there is no good way to move the broken pieces, reports

MORE: A Quest for Independence: Who Will Rule Easter Island’s Stone Heads?