University College London/Manchester - Long faces as theory topples

May 20, 2010

A 50-year-old theory about how the famous stone statues of Easter Island were moved around has been disproved by academics. A network of ancient roads criss-crosses the Pacific island, flanked by dozens of fallen statues, which are known as moai. Since the 1950s, it has been argued that the statues found on their backs and faces near the roads were abandoned during transportation. But this theory has been refuted by a team from University College London and the University of Manchester after new fieldwork on the island. The researchers found stone platforms associated with each fallen moai, suggesting that the routes were primarily ceremonial avenues and that the figures had merely fallen off their pedestals over time.

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