By Dr. Lori Verderame
Exploration is an exciting aspect of travel. Experiencing far off lands, immersing oneself in another culture, and capturing memories of unchartered territory can be life-changing. One such experience is a trip to fascinating Easter Island.
Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, Easter Island has the distinction of being one of the most remote islands in the entire world and its history is mysterious and fascinating.
Easter Island, named by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen who landed on Easter Sunday in 1722, is most famous for its highly recognizable extant monumental statues numbering 887 called Moai. It is thought that these statues were made and sited by the early Rapa Nui people as far back as 1100 AD.
Carved from volcanic ash native to the island, teams of four to six artisans produced a single moai using chisels representing a head of a deceased ancestor. The largest known moai weighs 82 tons. Transport and siting of the massive statues required an advanced pulley system and the aid of anywhere from 150 to 250 men. There is evidence that a rope connected to the moai was used to initiate a rocking motion—back and forth—in order to move the heavy statue. This may account for reports of the moai “walking” to an intended site.
In addition to the moai statues, cave decoration, specifically painting, is common to Easter Island. Many caves show pictographs of mythological imagery, which tell the stories and reveal the legends of the Rapa Nui people. Artifacts were found on Easter Island including small objects of adornment and detailed carvings of female figures that were thought to be used in fertility rites ceremonies.
The beauty of the lush landscape, interesting art objects, warm people, and pristine beaches of Easter Island attract historians and tourists alike. And the early culture of the Rapa Nui people and their famous Easter Island ancestor heads satisfy a traveler’s desire to explore and experience this exotic and faraway destination.
Dr. Lori Verderame is a celebrity antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality. With a background in art, antiques, and museums, Dr. Lori holds the doctorate from Penn State University and hosts antiques appraisal events worldwide. She is the star appraiser on the Discovery Channel worldwide. She sails on Regent Seven Seas Cruises and offers talks on various destination and special interest topics. Visit www.DrLoriV.com, www.Facebook.com/DoctorLori or follow her on Lori Verderame on Google+. Dr. Lori will sail on Seven Seas Navigator to the Caribbean in December 2013 and to the Black Sea and the South Pacific and Australia in 2014.