It got its name after Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen discovered the island on Easter Sunday in 1722.
Roggeveen stayed on the island for a week, observing the culture and way of life of the native residents and observing the “remarkably tall stone figures that established”.
Today, the indigenous people of the land call the island Rapa Nui, named after the Rapa Nui people.
According to the last census, carried out in 2017, the population of Easter Island was 7,750 inhabitants.
Most of its residents live in the main city of hanga roa.
The statues were built in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, though some date back to 1300.
Polynesians probably began to inhabit the island around 1000 CE.
The purpose of the moai remains a mystery to researchers.
TO 2019 study published in PLOS One, a journal from the Public Library of Science, found that the monuments were often built near freshwater sources, leading researchers to theorize that the statues played an important role in building communities around the resources. natural. However, not all Easter Island experts agree that small freshwater seepages were significant enough to justify the huge statues. the guardian reported.
Archaeologist and Easter Island expert Jo Anne Van Tilburg believes that the moai were built to honor ancestors and caciques, or for ritual use to communicate with the gods. she told PBS.
In February, scientists found a previously undiscovered statue on a dry lake bed inside a volcanic crater.
“We think we know all the moai, but then a new one appears,” said Terry Hunt, an archaeologist at the University of Arizona, “Good morning america.”
The statue is just over 5 feet tall and was found lying on its side in a lake that has been drying up for several years. Carbon dating will be used to determine its age.
Salvador Atan Hito, vice president of the Ma’u Henua indigenous organization that manages the site and its archaeological finds, called it a “very, very important discovery” through a translator.