As early as 1914, archaeologists have uncovered that the famous Easter island heads have bodies attached. Now scientists were shocked to discover intricate tattoos covering the statue’s torsos.
Academics believe that the crescent carved on the backs of the statues represent the canoes built by Polynesians.
Jo Anne Van Tilburg, director of the Easter Island Statue Project, began excavating the monoliths in 2010. Local Rapa Nui people helped them in the project.
Van Tilburg explained: “The reason people think they are (only) heads is there are about 150 statues buried up to the shoulders on the slope of a volcano, and these are the most famous, most beautiful and most photographed of all the Easter Island statues.”
“This suggested to people who had not seen photos of (other unearthed statues) that they are heads only,” she added.
Moreover, Van Tilburg’s team discovered that ceremonies were linked to the statues. Large quantities of red pigments used to paint the statues were also found.
“The backs of both statues are covered with petroglyphs, many of which are also vaka. A direct connection between the vaka symbol and the identity of the artist or group owning the statue is strongly suggested,” Van Tillburg said.
Standing 10 meters tall and weighing more than 80 tonnes, the 887 giant stone statues called Moai were carved by ancient Polynesians from volcanic rocks between AD 100 and 1800.
Reportedly, the bodies of the monoliths were originally exposed but eventually became buried under layers of slits after centuries of being subjected to forces of nature.
Although their importance is not fully known, it is thought that the statues represent significant ancestors or tribal figures.
Considered as one of the most remote inhabited island in the world, Easter island is located more than 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile.