27 June 2012, 05:16

Easter Island statues rocked?

NEW YORK. June 27. KAZINFORM For centuries, scientists have tried to solve the mystery of how the colossal stone statues of Easter Island moved. Now there's a new theory-and it rocks.

The multiton behemoths traveled up to 11 miles (18 kilometers) from the quarry where most of them were carved, without the benefit of wheels, cranes, or even large animals.

Scientists have tested many ideas in the past, figuring that the islanders must have used a combination of log rollers, ropes, and wooden sledges. Now a pair of archaeologists have come up with a new theory: Perhaps the statues, known as moai, were "engineered to move" upright in a rocking motion, using only manpower and rope.

Terry Hunt of the University of Hawaii and Carl Lipo of California State University Long Beach have worked closely with archaeologist Sergio Rapu, who's part of the South Pacific island's population of indigenous Rapanui, to develop their idea. They've observed that fat bellies allowed the statues to be tilted forward easily, and heavy, D-shaped bases could have allowed handlers to roll and rock the moai side to side, National Georgraphic says.

Last year, in experiments funded by the National Geographic Society's Expeditions Council, Hunt and Lipo showed that as few as 18 people could, with three strong ropes and a bit of practice, easily and relatively quickly maneuver a ten-foot (three-meter), five-ton moai replica a few hundred yards (a few hundred meters). No logs were required.

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