Ahu Easter IslandEaster Island Ahu
Tongariki Ahu - Easter Island
Easter Island's biggest mai-page. It' s 15 mai and contains the biggest mai ever built on the island (you can imagine which one) with a weight of over 86 tons. However, one can see another large mai that is cut into the Rano Raraku Vulcano, but it was never completed.
You' ll find that only the second mai from the right has a pupao (red knot) on his skull. Fifteen moais ( "moai" with their pukao) were overthrown in the seventeenth century (like all the other moais on the island) during a clan conflict and the final destruction of the "long-ears" clan, which had ordered the other clans to construct ever more and ever larger mai.
After the whole clan was slain, they then kicked all the Moai from their base and sometimes laid stones where they were toppled. Luckily none of them were broke at Ahu Tongariki and they stayed on the floor for the next few centages. Following the Valdivia quake of 22 May 1960 (the biggest in the story at 9.5 on the Richter scale), a large tidal wave took the tumbled sculptures and the Pucao and dispersed them further into the interior, a few hundred meters from their initial whereabouts.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Chile and the Moai Restoration Committee of Japan was concluded in October 1992 to return the Ahu Tongariki Moai to its initial position. The work was concluded in 1996 with the help of a group of archaeologist from Chile (Claudio Cristino was the director), a group of human beings and a group of Japan archeologists on Easter Island.
A ( "torn") photograph of a cranes fighting to raise one of the "smaller" mai to its basis can be seen at the entry to the site (see photograph below). The only mai the hoist on the picture could raise, according to our leader, who assisted with the work.
Tongariki Ahu is a great place to take a picture of the moai at dawn, with the rising outdoors. Near the entry to Ahu Tongariki and near the Pukao on the floor, you will find a few pet iglyphs of tortoises in some shelters.
Ahu Tongariki is visited by most as part of a trip, although it is also simple to see it yourself (however, you can miss the story and information on the guide's page). PLEASE NOTE: Rob W. and Ange P. stayed a whole weekend on Easter Island in late January 2013 to create most of the information, photographs and video that we have here.
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