Anakena beach, the best of the two on the island.
More than 200 statues once stood along the island’s coast on ahu (ceremonial platforms), transported up to 10kms (6 miles) from the crater of Rano Raraku – probably by sleds lubricated with sweet potatoes – where they were quarried from volcanic tuff (porous rock). There are about 400 statues still in the quarry, inside and outside the crater.
Moai range in size from barely a metre to up to 11m (33ft) and weighing 82 tonnes, though there is one still in the quarry that is 20m long and would weigh around 250 tons (pictured later).
Moai were constructed from about AD 500, probably as a form of ancestor recognition or worship by five differing clans that shared control of the island; the inland-looking aspect of most of the moai indicates that the clans thought that the moai were watching over and protecting their people.
Peak moai production was in AD 1400 when the island population was as high as 20, 000 and moai size had become highly competitive.