University College London/Manchester - Long faces as theory topples

A 50-year-old theory about how the famous stone statues of Easter Island were moved around has been disproved by academics. A network of ancient roads criss-crosses the Pacific island, flanked by dozens of fallen statues, which are known as moai. Since the 1950s, it has been argued that the statues found on their backs and faces near the roads were abandoned during transportation. But this theory has been refuted by a team from University College London and the University of Manchester after new fieldwork on the island. The researchers found stone platforms associated with each fallen moai, suggesting that the routes were primarily ceremonial avenues and that the figures had merely fallen off their pedestals over time.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Man measuring bar graphs with tape measure

An Elsevier analysis explores the viability of a ‘smarter and cheaper’ model

  • David Willetts

The former universities minister discusses the reforms that reshaped higher education and his first steps into academia

  • Man holding a box filled with work-related items

Refusal by John Allen to obey instruction from manager at Queen Mary University of London led to his sacking, tribunal rules

  • A black and white crowd scene with a few people highlighted

What are the key issues local union branches are dealing with, and how do they manage relationships with institutions in what many activists argue is an increasingly confrontational environment?

  • Muslim woman at graduation ceremony, Barbican, London

Sector called on to embrace faith-related concerns in intellectual debates