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Do Easter Island's Moai point to fresh water?


Posted on Thursday, 11 October, 2018 | Comment icon 18 comments

Why are the statues placed where they are ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.5 Honey Hooper
Scientists have come up with a possible new explanation for the positions of the island's stone statues.
A small land mass of only 60 square miles, Easter Island has remained something of an enigma for years. Its army of strange stone heads and the unexplained disappearance of its inhabitants are mysteries that continue to draw both intrigue and puzzlement.

Now though, researchers from Binghamton University in New York believe that they may have found an answer to one of the island's most enduring mysteries - that of the positions of the statues.

While previous theories have suggested that the position and orientation of the island's iconic stone heads may have held spiritual significance, the new study puts forward the notion that the statue's builders may have instead been using them to mark out sources of drinking water.

Due to the lack of streams and rivers on the island, the inhabitants must have relied primarily on groundwater discharge along the island's coastal areas.

"Fortunately, water beneath the ground flows downhill and ultimately exits the ground directly at the point at which the porous subterranean rock meets the ocean," said Professor Carl Lipo.

"When tides are low, this results in the flow of freshwater directly into the sea. Humans can thus take advantage of these sources of freshwater by capturing the water at these points."

The statues, he argues, were set up to pinpoint the sites at which this water was available.

"Now that we know more about the location of freshwater... the location of these monuments and other features makes tremendous sense," he said.

"They are positioned where freshwater is immediately available."

Source: Fox News | Comments (18)

Tags: Easter Island

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Rolci on 11 October, 2018, 21:52
Can we agree that due to the small size of the island there was probably only one culture inhabiting it at any one time (probably the same one for thousands of years)? Water is needed on a daily basis, and everybody knew where it was. What kind of a moronic idea suggests that they needed to build statues to "pinpoint" the location of the water everybody already knew where to find and how to get? And what's this theory about the natives using up all the resources? There are literally over a thousand islands in the Polynesian archipelago(s), where tribes have been living for thousands of years, ... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by L.A.T.1961 on 11 October, 2018, 22:49
The moai look to be located at landing points around the island. Their large size would make them visible from out at sea, are they aiming points for fishermen returning to the island ?  
Comment icon #11 Posted by DirtyDocMartens on 12 October, 2018, 0:18
Obviously there is a lot to be researched on all this. Thanks for posting it, and thanks for so many perspectives. That's why I enjoy this site so much!
Comment icon #12 Posted by Gecks on 12 October, 2018, 2:17
I tend to agree. If they had one head at the source yeah ok, but I dont see the advantage in producing so many figures soley to pin point a water source. Unless of course they worshipped water... or were extremely bored. Perhaps the guys undertaking construction had a boss like mine and kept making them do it over until 'they got it right'.
Comment icon #13 Posted by seanjo on 12 October, 2018, 7:27
I saw a docu saying the transport and erection of their heads (woop woop) used up all the trees on the island helping to lead to their demise.   I like this theory though, having all those giant people/Gods defending/pointing the way to your only sources of fresh water.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 on 12 October, 2018, 8:45
With no trees there was nothing to stop the erosion of the soil. Couldn't keep any crops.    Their demise is always painted as mysterious, there was anything but. It's quite well known why they are gone. I think it's just some ancient aliens crap that people adhere to.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 on 12 October, 2018, 8:49
They absolutely did. They chopped down every single tree they could find to move their giant stupid Stone heads. The civilization of the Rapa Nui was already in Collapse by the time westerners had contact with them.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Coil on 12 October, 2018, 9:21
Actually, it is written that some statues near the Rano volcano look down the slope and others, on the ahu, look inland at the village that once stood there. I do not think that our modern statues look at the sources of water and they are also turned to the living.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Coil on 12 October, 2018, 9:26
And who do you do it, someone else? I do not believe that the trees were destroyed to move the statues.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Iilaa'mpuul'xem on 12 October, 2018, 10:39
I saw this a while ago, I would have thought the first thing people did that discovered these would be to dig down to see how far they were buried?


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