EASTER ISLAND PART 2: Ancient Highways, Construction of the Colossi & Walking Statues

A Megalithic Marvels Special Investigative Series

To Read “Easter Island Part 1: The Long-Ears, Civil War & the White-Skinned Cannibalistic Priests” click HERE

By Rivi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


In the 19th century, missionaries and their Polynesian companions from French Oceania began to refer to Easter Island as “Rapa-nui” which translates to “Great Rapa,” and thus added another name and another mystery to an island which already seemed to have enough of both. Being that Rapu Nui is a Polynesian name from the 19th century, Easter Island is actually the older name. There are only two other islands in the world that bear the name “Rapa.” Lying exactly west of Easter Island near Tahiti is an island similar in size called Rapa-iti or Little Rapa, where a very interesting oral tradition has survived claiming that the island had been settled by pregnant women escaping from wars and massacres on Easter Island. There is only one other island in the world known by the same name, and it happens to be about the same distance from Easter Island, but in the opposite direction to the east – Rapa Island on Lake Titicaca, Peru where stone figures have been unearthed that depict bearded men with extremely long ears. The Spanish chroniclers recorded stories about the legendary sun-king “Kon-Tiki” otherwise known by the Inca as “Viracocha.” He and his followers were claimed to have brought civilization to Peru and were recalled in all parts of the empire as having white skin, long ears, beards and said to be the builders of the megalithic platforms at Saqsaywayman and colossal statues of Tiahuanaco.

Q Were the white-skinned, long-eared and red-haired megalithic builders of Easter Island (Rapa-nui) associated with “Viracocha” and his white-skinned, long-eared, red-haired followers who built similar megaliths near Rapa Island in the area of Peru & Bolivia?

Photo by Discovery Times, Moais in Easter Island


The monolithic statues of Rapa Nui are called “Moai” in the Rapanui language. Approximately 50% of the 887 statues documented to date still remain in the immediate vicinity of Rano Raraku, the quarry in which they were produced. The majority of the remaining statues were transported to and erected upon a variety of ceremonial structures called “Ahu.” This feat is one of the greatest megalithic achievements of Pacific prehistory. The largest unfinished statue measures close to 100 feet in length and weighs approximately 100 tons. 

Norwegian author, explorer and ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl writes the following in his book ‘Easter Island the Mystery Solved…

“It was both fascinating and impressive to see how the whole side of the volcano Rano Raraku had been hollowed out and pitted like a worm-eaten cheese by the prehistoric quarrymen. Everywhere lay more or less unfinished stone giants as yet unseparated from the rock. The greatest of all the giants still unseparated from the rock of the quarry is over 72 feet long. If cut loose and raised erect, it would have been a single block of stone as tall as a 70 story building. We had no trouble confirming that Mrs. Routledge (English archaeologist and anthropologist who initiated the first true survey of Easter Island in 1914) had solved the problem of how the statues were made in the quarry. The front of the stone giant was carved first, complete down to the last detail except for the eye sockets, which were not even marked. When the front and both sides had been exposed and finished, the sculptors began to undercut the back, which was still attached to the bedrock. The only tools used by the sculptors were the rough axes of hard basalt. They were without handles, pointed like pickaxes at one or both ends and fashioned to lie comfortably in the hand. Thousands of such toke axes lay scattered all over the quarry, as if the wielders had thrown them down on the day when the worked stopped, never to resume.” 

It appears that when a statue was finished it was broken off its keel and slid carefully down the slope using ropes tied to giant palm trunks which were sunk in specially prepared holes in the rim of the crater. In 1882 a German captain named Geisler visited the island and discovered what seemed to be un-natural large circular pits on the rim of the Reno Raraku volcano.

Did the ancients dig these large holes as sockets for the poles?

Did this apparent sudden halt of construction take place due to the civil war between the long-eared masters and their short-eared slaves as discussed in Part 1?

By Soizic Gaborel – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


In one of the rongo-rongo tablets known as “Apai,” there is a reference to the original settlement period that has been passed down as part of the oral tradition…

“When the island was first created and became known to our forefathers, the land was crossed with roads beautifully paved with flat stones. The stones were laid close together so artistically that no rough edges were exposed. Trees were growing so close together along the borders of the road that they met overhead, and the branches were laced together like muscles.” 

English archaeologist and anthropologist Katherine Routledge visited the island in 1914 to complete a thorough survey of the island and later wrote the book “The Mystery of Easter Island.” Routledge made a most puzzling discovery that made a considerable impact on her. Some prehistoric tracks known to the Easter Islanders as Ara Mahiva or “Mahiva’s Road,” were said to encompass the whole seaboard of the island and were considered to be the work of a supernatural being. The road could be seen as a continuous furrow and on the northern and western coasts it ran for much of the way along the top of the cliffs. Wherever it had been interrupted, either because of land slides or erosion, it resumed its course on the cliff on the other side. On Rano-Kao it showed up best in certain lights, running up both the eastern and western edges. Routledge stated…

“This silent witness to a forgotten past is one of the most mysterious and impressive things on the island.”

Q Were these ancient paved roads made with an advanced form of technology by something other than just human?

Did these roads have anything to do with transporting the Moai statues?

By Fernando G. Baptisa, National Geographic


Concerning the technical problem of getting the stone giants from the quarries to the distant Ahu platforms comes this oral tradition from the Rapa-nui… “The great chief at that time, who was omnipotent like his predecessors, had commanded them to walk; on his command they had all begun to move while choosing sites to the best of their own liking.” French missionary Father Roussel who lived on the island in the 1860’s, examined the surfaces of the statues found abandoned in transit along the roads and found that all the surfaces were found to be polished and undamaged by friction.

A native of the Island named Pedro Atan whose family claims descent from the Long-ears, declared that he knew how the statues had been erected without modern technical aids. Explorer Thor Heyerdahl challenged him to prove his theory and describes what he saw Atan do during his visit…

“Using no tools except poles and rocks of all shapes, the descendants of the Long-ears began to lift the head of the statue by such tiny increments as small stones were wedged underneath and gradually replaced by larger ones in ever-increasing numbers. The giant slowly reared up until all the piled stones had been removed and no clue remained as to how the statue had ben raised. The bases of those still in the quarries were perfectly flat. As we examined those along the roads, it became abundantly clear that those closest to their point of departure had their bases best preserved, whereas the further the moai had been removed from the quarry area the more convex the base had become. There were no signs of wear on any other part of the statue. What we saw supported Pavel’s conviction that they must have been moved in an upright position.”

By Mbmerino – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Czech engineer “Pavel Pavel” theorized that the statues were moved ages ago as people today would move or “walk” a heavy refrigerator or a stone too big to carry unaided. Heyerdahl describes what his team accomplished using Pavel’s theory…

“The mass of the statue was virtually eliminated, because its whole weight rested on the ground at all times. All that was needed were four ropes. Two were attached to the top of the statue and used to pull it to each side alternatively, while the other were fastened down at the base and alternately pulled forward. As one team pulled on the top of the rope to make the statue tilt to the right, the other team pulled the left hand side of the base forward before the giant tipped back again. The teams then changed sides, causing the colossus to waddle along like a drunken man. The technique required great precision and intensive training, but was incredibly effective when the waddling became rhythmic. We reckoned that a well-drilled team of fifteen men could make a 20 ton statue “walk” at least an average of one hundred yards a day.” 4

Did the ancient inhabitants actually walk the moai to their locations as Pavel’s theory suggests or were they moved by a more mysterious as the oral tradition suggests?

By Javier Ramos Pinochet – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


For most of the modern era, the world falsely presumed that the moai statues of Easter Island only consisted of giant heads. However, in the 1950’s, Thor Heyerdahl and his team were the first to conduct major excavations on Easter Island, and to their very great surprise, they found that the massive stone heads, called moai were attached in most cases to complete bodies.

Thor Heyerdahl & crew http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/easter-island-statues-revealed-234519

Q Why were the statues buried in up to 30 feet of soil?

Were they buried intentionally? Were they buried due to thousands of years of soil buildup? Were they buried suddenly by a cataclysm?

In 1934, French ethnologist Alfred Metraux visited the island and was the first to note that the Easter Island term for the red stone cylinders on the heads of many of the moai was “pukao” meaning topknots, and thus did not represent red hats at all, but red hair. He also reported that he was told by the islanders that their ancestors had moved the pukao up onto the head by means of a pile of stones placed against the body of the statue. Author, biologist and explorer to the island Brien Foerster states… “The red top-nots represent the hair color of the first people. Polynesians in general don’t have red hair so where does that come from? My suspicion is the west coast of Peru.” 

Phil Marion, Moai of Easter Island

Many of the excavated Rano Raraku statues have a dorsal pattern of the same kind as that seen on several of the statues that had been toppled from their Ahu platforms. This pattern consists of an arched rainbow motif that is confined to the back. The descendants of the Long-ears claimed that the motif represented the rainbow with the sun and moon above it and rain symbolized by the “M” shape beneath. Heyerdahl states… “Once again it was obvious to us that images so artistically carved on all sides including the back could not have been subjected to the friction of being dragged along the ground.” 

Click play below to see an up close 3D generated photogrammetry model of a moai


The reason for the deep, empty eye sockets of the Moai was a mystery until archaeologist Sergio Rapu declared to an astonished scientific world that the giant Moai once had inlaid eyes. He had found a large complete eye that perfectly fitted the space designed for it. Apparently the Moai all had inlaid eyes from the moment they were erected until they toppled over face down.

Upon close examination one notices the long nails, especially on the thumbs of the Moai, these probably reveal that the monument represented a person of royal rank not accustomed to physical work. There is a noticeable difference in the size and make of the larger statues near the Rano Raraku quarry and the smaller topknot wearing statues that are mostly standing on the ahu platforms along the coast. As we will discuss in part 3, there is evidence to suggest the larger statues as well as the megalithic walls were constructed at a much earlier date than everything else. Jo Anne Van Tilburg Ph.D. of the Easter Island Statue Project makes the following statement… “The megalithic statues known as the Moai are universally regarded on Rapa Nui today as representations of chiefly, deified ancestors. They are the living faces of the past.” Combine all of these strange features along with the elongated shaped heads, angular faces and the long phallus shaped bodies of the Moai and the big question becomes…

Q Who were these ancient-chiefly-deified ancestors that the statues are supposed to represent?



To read the ground-breaking investigative series “Unlocking Lovelock: Attack of the Red-Haired Giants,” click HERE



1 Heyerdahl, Thor, Easter Island The Mystery Solved, 1989 – 25, 76, 77, 129

2 Van Tilburg, Jo Anne P.H.D., Easter Island Statue Project, 2009

3 Mysterious Places, Easter Island

4 Heyerdahl, Thor, Easter Island The Mystery Solved, 1989 – 76, 78, 111, 151, 204, 205, 224, 241

5 Foerster, Brien, Recent And Eye Opening Excavations Underway On Easter Island, Hidden Inca Tours

6 Heyerdahl, Thor, Easter Island The Mystery Solved, 1989 – 162, 191, 219, 235