Travel video of the week: Hidden secrets of Easter Island


Modem archaeological scientists and engineers try and recreate and decipher the mystery of Easter Island’s Moai statues by experimenting with archaic engineering methods and mysterious practices. Curved from stone, the human figures have over-sized heads, often resting on massive rock platforms called ahus, partially buried underground. 1,000 statues exist on the island, 30 feet tall, weighing a colossal 75 tons, scattered about the barren landscape in the mountains and close to the ocean. Society and tradition was tribal and primitive, with black magic priests and chieftains writing strange hieroglyphic languages known as rongorongo. Not unlike Europe’s Stonehenge, this civilization constructed and moved these monolithic sculptures without present-day tools and equipment.

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Comments (4)

  1. Alex says:

    What comes through from me from this film is the sheer commitment and faith of the people. Their belief must have been incredibly strong to work so painstakingly slowly as a team to carve the statues. I suppose that it is no different to the devotion shown when spending a century or two creating one of Europe’s great cathedrals. For me, Is is the real fascination of the programme, it is a long lost way of living, different conceptions of time.

  2. Elizabeth Knowling says:

    I enjoyed this programme and there’s some impressive detective work. Though I think that history needs to be cautious. I worry that sometimes we get preoccupied with the “how” questions, rather than the “why” questions.

  3. Nina Hobson says:

    I live in Chile and I’m ashamed to say we haven’t made it to Easter Island yet. My baby just got her (Chilean!) passport so fingers crossed we’ll get there soon. All my local friends say it’s a truly magical experience.

  4. Jo Fordham says:

    This place is so fascinating and mysterious. It’s always mind boggling to think of structures like this and the pyramids so many years ago before all the modern day tools, tech and transport. It’s interesting how archaeologists try to construct hypotheses and theories and test them out from the clues they have. It’s a lot of effort to go to trying to replicate these statues to undertake such experiments!

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