25 Jun 2012

Hopes for replication of experiment showing how Rapa Nui moai walked

7:34 pm on 25 June 2012

A University of Hawaii anthropologist is hoping Rapanui people may be able to repeat some of his experiments showing how their ancient statues or moai were moved into place.

Professor Terry Hunt is among researchers who used the law of physics, and a replica statue to build on local Rapanui belief that the moai walked up to 18 kilometres to their final location.

He says the team has released a video showing a replica of the statues moving, using minimal people power, ropes and natural physics.

He says the people of Rapanui are thrilled their belief has been demonstrated in the experiments.

"We're hoping that in the future we might be able to make some moulds of the statue and return those moulds to the island, have people there experiment with their very own heritage and maybe there could even be statue races."

He says there is a lot still to learn about the moai's transportation but experiments have managed to throw some light on the mystery.