Better late than never. We awoke to sunny skies and a salty breeze and relished not needing to set an alarm or jump out of bed. We leisurely made pancakes, then Erin, Kristen, and John walked the coastal road, past the cemetery, in order to visit the island's museum. It had been our intention to do this first, for an overview of what we'd see, but it was closed the day we arrived and we'd been too busy ever since. In the end, it was nice to have explored the sites on our own, taking in what we saw, then filling in the final details with the information we hadn't already known.
The question Erin's sister had asked her before the trip still lurked in her mind: were the heads on the hill complete? We hadn't been able to find a decisive answer at the quarry. It seemed that they might be only half-completed moai, their bodies not excavated and carved yet. But the museum posed another possibility.
Scientists think that the moai were carved horizontally, on their backs, out of the volcanic rock. This certainly seems to be the case from what we witnessed at the quarry. Then, they believe the moai were tilted upwards in a hole so that their backs could receive their final carvings. It seems likely that the heads on the hill were in this stage of production, which is why some have started leaning over time, but they are mainly upright. When the beliefs of the Rapa Nui changed, the moai were abandonded. Some are even found scattered around the island on their way to ahu. We also learned the startling fact that there are 887 moai in total, 288 were moved and erected on an ahu, 397 are still in the quarry, and 92 were left en route to an ahu. The last hundred are only fragments or found in museum collections. Only 10 of the moai resemble female figures.
The best news the museum presented were the multiple panels dedicated to information about Oceania, showcasing how Easter Island (and Borneo) are a part of this seventh "continent," meaning we've actually been to all seven! We know, however, that this glory is short-lived as it will surely be disputed by Craig and his family.
|One of only 10 moai|
with female figures
Within minutes, the sky opened up and the rains the clouds had been promising poured down on us in an absolute monsoon. We thanked our bank accounts for having enough in them so we weren't stuck in a tent in the downpour, and went our separate ways for an afternoon of relaxation.