New Moai statue found in dry lake bed on Easter Island
On the isolated and inhabited volcanic island of Easter Island in Polynesia, an amazing new moai has been unearthed. As reported By Good Morning America
Salvator Atan Hito, the Vice President of Ma’u Henua, recently announced that a new moai statue was discovered in a dried lake bed on the island.
The esteemed Ma’u Henua is the Indigenous organization responsible for preserving the national park of Rapa Nui, a sanctuary that its native people call home.
“For the Rapa Nui people, it’s [a] very, very important discovery,” Hito told “Good Morning America” through a translator at the site. “Because it’s here in the lake and nobody knows this exists — even the ancestors, our grandparents don’t know [about] that one.”
Easter Island is renowned for its nearly one thousand, monolithic stone statues – known as Moai. Dr. Terry Hunt has devoted two decades of research to discovering more about these eye-catching sculptures made from volcanic tuff and their enigmatic creators, the Rapa Nui people. The tallest moai stands at an astonishing 33 feet high while on average they weigh three to five tons; however some reach up to a whopping 80 tons!
“The moai are important because they really represent the history of the Rapa Nui people,” Hunt said. “They were the islanders’ deified ancestors. They’re iconic worldwide, and they really represent the fantastic archeological heritage of this island.”
Although the moai is of relatively small size compared to others across the island, Hunt declared that its discovery marks a groundbreaking archeological milestone in the dry lake bed.
“We think we know all the moai, but then a new one turns up, a new discovery, and in this case, in the lake, at the statue quarry,” he said. “There have been no moai found in the dry bed or in what was previously a lake, so this is a first.”
The drier conditions on the island created an “exceptional opportunity” to explore and examine the area, according to Hunt. These changes were caused by global climate shift, making this research essential for understanding what our planet faces in years ahead.
Hunt and Hito said with the present dry conditions, archeologists may discover more moai in the lake bed.
“Under the dry conditions that we have now, we may find more. They’ve been hidden by the tall reeds that grow in the lake bed and prospecting with something that can detect what’s under the ground surface may tell us that there are in fact more moai in the lakebed sediments,” Hunt said. “When there’s one moai in the lake, there’s probably more.”
In addition to uncovering more moai, Hito announced that the team will continue their search for tools used in the process of carving and inscribing these statues.