Guest blogger Peter
So, what is the mystery of Easter Island?
There is actually an immense amount of existing oral tradition by which the monuments can be understood. The ahus contain the bones of the ancestors and the moai represent their spirits and continuing presence. Equally, we can see where the moai were made and how. We don’t know exactly how they were transported – there are too many theories here, the most exciting of which is that they were “walked” to their destinations, shuffling from one side to another.
What is incredible, though, is that the few thousand inhabitants of this tiny island in the middle of the Pacific erected monuments that compare to those of the Maya or the Egyptians. And they invented writing. None of this happened anywhere else in Polynesia or indeed, I think, in any other comparable environment. Why this civilisation evolved here seems to me to be the real mystery of the island.