Ever wondered how the native inhabitants of Easter Island managed to move their 33 feet, 80 tonne statues - known as 'moai' - to their positions on the coast without any use of wheels or draft animals?
Scientists Hannah Bloch and Carl P. Lipo have, and they've got an answer that seems to fit: it was a combination of manpower, patience and ropes that allowed the statues to 'walk' to their current locations.
This idea, first put forward by anthropologist Terry Hunt, was put into practice with the help of National Geographic, and above is the video footage that proves that the idea is entirely possible.
What makes this all so wonderful is that the Easter Island natives, the Rapanui, have long claimed in their myth and traditions that the statues did indeed walk, so this all fits together rather wonderfully.
“The experts can say whatever they want,” Suri Tuki, a 25-year-old Rapanui man told National Geographic, referring to previous theories. “But we know the truth. The statues walked.” As Bloch explains, "In the Rapanui oral tradition, the moai were animated by mana, a spiritual force transmitted by powerful ancestors."
Find a full explanation of the the various theories of the moai in the July issue of National Geographic, which is already available for the iPad and will hit newsstands on June 26.
For more photos, click over to National Geographic:
Archaeologists Carl Lipo of the University of California State University Long Beach (left) and Terry Hunt of the University of Hawaii stand in front of a full-scale replica of a stone statue from Easter Island known as a moai. For centuries people have wondered who carved these statues and why. Hunt and Lipo's research on questions surrounding Easter Island's past is featured in a cover story in the July 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.
As a team of volunteers pulls in one direction and a group across from them coordinates, a full-scale replica of an Easter Island moai "walks" down a road in Hawaii, where the experiment was conducted. The experiment, which involved two groups rocking the statue from side to side while a third stabilized it from behind, showed that a minimum of 18 people could move the 10-foot, 5-ton moai a few hundred yards without it tipping over. The experiment is discussed in the July 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.
Three teams, one on each side and one in the back, manage to maneuver an Easter Island statue replica down a road in Hawaii, hinting that prehistoric farmers who didn't have the wheel may have transported these statues in this manner. The experiment was led by archaeologists Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo and is reported in the July 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.
A 10-foot, 5-ton replica of an Easter Island "moai" dances down the road, guided by teams on each side and behind it. Archaeologists Carl Lipo and Terry Hunt, who led the experiment, report that once the balance of the teams and ropes was established, the statue "just did its thing." The experiment, funded by the National Geographic Society, is described in the July 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.