The nearest inhabited land (around 50 residents in 2013) is Pitcairn Island 1,289 miles away; the nearest town with a population over 500 is Rikitea, on the island of Mangareva, 1,619 miles away; the nearest continental point lies just in central Chile, 2,182 miles away.
Easter Island is famous for it’s large stone statues called moai, carved in the period A.D. 1100–1680A.D. There are 887 monolithic stone statues that have been inventoried and are located both on the island and within museum collections.
Although often identified as “Easter Island heads”, most statues have torsos and upper thighs. A few are complete figures kneeling on bent knees with their hands covering their stomachs.
The statues were carved from volcanic rock between 1100 and 1500 A.D. by ancient Polynesians, ranging in size, with the tallest reaching 33 feet (10 meters). The moai are thought to be representations of the indigenous peoples’ ancestors, carved when an important tribal figure or family member passed away.
Most moai were carved from solidified volcanic ash found on the side of the volcano Rano Raraku. The native islanders who carved them used only stone hand chisels.
During the sculpting process the stone was doused with water to soften it. A single moai statue would have taken five or six men approximately one year to complete. And there would have been several teams working on different statues. It is believed that each statue represented the deceased head of a family lineage.
Nearly half of the states remained in a quarry at Rano Raraku. The largest moai raised on a platform is known as “Paro”. It weighs 82 tons and is 32.15 ft long.
Anywhere from 180 to 250 men were required to move each statues. Around 50 statues were re-erected in modern times.