Why Some Easter Island Statues Are Where They Are


This is scientific Americans sixty seconds. Science I'm Karen Hopkins. The statues on Easter Island are among the most mysterious objects made by humans. We still don't know how they were moved why they were placed particular sites around the island and why they were made in the first place. Now, researchers think they have at least some answers because a new analysis fines that the statues are located near sources of freshwater. The study appears in the Journal plus. It's believed that the residents of revenue the indigenous name for Easter Island began constructing these carvings in the thirteenth century the statues called Moai which sit upon stone platforms called who are the very definition of monumental, most way between twenty and thirty tonnes and of the thousand on the island about four hundred have been moved from the quarry where they originated and placed on all who located elsewhere. But those locations aren't necessarily everywhere there in some places and not others. And the questions that we started to ask ourselves was, why do we find these out who and why some places on the landscape but not others Carl, Lipo an anthropologist at Binghamton University in Central, New, York he says that most of these sculptures are found along the coast but some are inland and they're not necessarily in obvious places. For example, we don't find out WHO and statues located on the tops of hills places that we might expect to find them if. These things were symbolic representing ancestors where you wanted to show off to the world or the itself, the fruits of your creation these statue. So the statues are more than just towering talismans to be admired from afar indeed lippo and his colleagues noted that people spent most of their time living in working around these sites which made the researchers thing that the statues might be located near a valuable resource. So the question was what resource was water freshwater marine resources. Or Division places, which of those which combination of those best explained locations of who on the landscape and their statistical analyses pointed toward potable water, which Lippo says made sense every single time we found a big source of freshwater. There would be a statue in and out who emmy facilities over and over and over again in places where we didn't find freshwater, we didn't find statues and I hope now that doesn't mean that the sculpture served as markers like sign saying. Here. But rather that the community themselves were connected to those resources and thus their investment in statues was done around that resource because these locations had the resources that they needed survive. It seems that many of these massive sculptures are where they are for totally pragmatic reasons we'll build here because here is where we wanna be. Thanks for listening for scientific Americans sixty seconds science I'm Karen Hopkin.

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