Larger than life

SUN JOURNAL

April 20, 2003

On an earlier Easter Sunday -- April 5, 1722 -- a Dutch sea captain, Jacob Roggeveen, landed on an isolated island in the South Pacific, 2,300 miles from Chile and about the size of Washington, D.C. He called his find Easter Island, and it has been a source of fascination ever since because of its giant stone statues from long ago. Its orginal inhabitants were thought to be Polynesian, and it is known as Rapa Nui in that language. The stone monoliths can be as tall as 60 feet but average about 13 feet and weigh 14 tons. They are called moai. Thought to have been made and put in place between 1000 and 1650, they provokd great wonder. How did a people using bone, stone and coral carve them? How did they raise them onto their stone platforms, called ahu? And what were they meant to be? Did they represent powerful men, or were they somehow a communication to a god? Whatever they meant, they have delivered a powerful message to ensuing generations.

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