Easter Island 'Heads' Rolled Atop Statues, Study Suggests

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April 27, 2015

Yet another theory has been advanced for the construction of the Easter Island statues, this one an explanation for how the statues got their "hats."

The pukao, or headgear, gained their perches atop the towering moai, or statues, when the inhabitants of Rapu Nui, or Easter Island, rolled them atop the statues on ramps, according to a study from the University of Oregon.

The pukao for the largest statues are 6.5 feet in diameter and weigh 12 tons. The statues were erected before the pukao were placed on top. Not all statues have "hats." Some pukao have been found on the ground at various places around the island.

The University of Oregon study postulates that the people living on the island used a system of ramps and pulleys to get the pukao in just the right position. The study suggests that as few as 10 people would have been needed to roll a pukao into place. Supporting the theory are what appear to be pukao-shaped indentations on the base of some of the moai.

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