Easter Island: Famous Heads Were ‘Walked’ Into Place

Easter Island’s famous heads were “walked” into place using a simple “walking” technique–at least according to California State University at Long Beach archaeologist Carl Lipo and Hawaii anthropoligist Terry Hunt, whose study is written in the July issue of National Geographic.

Fox News reports that Lipo asserts, “A lot of what people think they know about the island turns out to be not true.” Instead of other theories, the two suggest that islanders would use ropes and stand on each side of the giant statues, swaying them back and forth to create a walking effect.

The most popular theory to date has said that the native islanders created sled-like devices using the island’s trees in order to cart the statues to their current resting places. That same theory holds that deforestation from the island’s inhabitants as a result of the project, was directly tied into their eventual downfall.

The new theory put forth by Lipo and Hunt about what really happened at Easter Island comes after they used 18 people to move a 5-ton statue with only ropes for support. Yahoo News reports that they tried the experiment after Jared Diamond, proponent of the sled transportation and subsequent deforestation theory disputed the new theory by saying:

“This seems an implausible recipe for disaster. Imagine it yourself: If you were told to transport a 90-ton statue 33 feet high over a dirt road, why would you risk tipping and breaking it by transporting it vertically with all its weight concentrated on its small base, rather than avoiding the risk of tipping by laying it flat and distributing its weight over its entire length?”

Despite Diamond’s criticism, the theory jibes with ancient village legends. According to Yahoo News, 25-year-old Rapa Nui resident Suri Tuki, stated, “The experts can say whatever they want. But we know the truth. The statues walked.” And after their experiment, Lipo is more likely to agree with Tuki, stating:

“With the physics of the taller statue, you have greater leverage. It almost gets to the point where you would have to do it that way.”

Do you think Lipo and Hunt are right about the “walking” theory regarding Easter Island’s mysterious statues?