Moai is the local name for a group of colossal basalt stone statues on Easter Island, one of the Polynesian islands, erected between 1250 and 1500. Their lengths range between 2 m and 9 m, and their average weight is 14 tons, and some of them may reach 80 tons. It is interesting to note that these statues are directed mostly to the interior of the island.
Only the head and neck sometimes appear from the moai statues, but it was noticed because almost every statue has two hands and a torso. Its back contains inscriptions believed to symbolize an ancient language.
Eleven or more moai statues have been removed from the island and moved to locations around the world, including six of the thirteen carved from basalt.
Many archaeologists suggest that the statues were symbols of religious and political power and power. But they weren’t just symbols.
READ MORE: Great Wall of China
For the residents who erected and used them, they are repositories of the holy spirit. It was believed that in the ancient Polynesian religions making them doctrinally correctly with carved stone and wooden tools would result in them being charged with a magical spiritual essence called (mana).
Archaeologists believe the statues were representations of ancient Polynesian ancestors.
The reason for the reception of the moai statues towards the villages and the opposite of the ocean is to watch over the people and guard them, but the exception is the seven statues (Ako Akifi) facing the ocean in order to help travelers find the island.
There is a legend that says that there were seven men who waited for the arrival of their king.
But scientists are still not sure of their exact purpose or the meaning behind its creation, however, a team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), may finally be able to unravel the mystery of Easter Island.
A new study published by American archaeologist Jo Ann Van Tilburg, who is best known for her research on statues of Easter Island (Rapa Nui), reveals that she has deciphered the meaning behind the carved stone heads known as moai.
In a study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, scientists claimed that the moai played a crucial role for the island’s inhabitants.
According to the study, moai carving and placing occurred throughout the island between the 14th and 19th centuries to enhance the fertility of the land.
Scientist Van Tilburg and her team studied two specific statues at the Rano Raraku quarry, on the eastern side of the island, which may date from 1510-1645.
Perhaps 95% of the ancient stone statues on Easter Island come from the Rano Raraku Quarry.
The American archaeologist analyzed soil samples around the quarry to find evidence of foods such as bananas, sweet potatoes and a tropical plant known as eaten taro or elephant ears.
The abundance of foods found in the soil around the quarry indicates that the land was a “hot spot” for farming on Easter Island.
Van Tilburg has spent the past 30 years on Easter Island, and her latest discovery was helped by Sarah Sherwood, a soil specialist and archaeologist at the University of California.
“I think our new analysis humanizes the production of moai,” said Van Tilburg, while Sherwood noted that “soil chemistry (such as calcium and phosphorous) showed high levels of elements essential for plant growth and essential for high productivity.”
While the soil in the quarry was so perfect that it seemed to be rich in water, natural fertilizers and nutrients, the soil on the rest of the island was rapidly eroding.
Scientists believe that this discovery indicates that the Easter Island civilization is agricultural-minded, as it was known to plant different crops in the same place over and over again.
The statues may have been moved from the quarry to ensure the sacred nature of the place across the island, and in doing so, the basic idea of the moai is fertility and its presence means stimulating agricultural food production, according to Van Tilburg.