One of the most evocative images in the entire world, the MOAI are ancient brooding figures carved from great slabs of volcanic rock. More than a thousand MOAI can be found scattered over the island, most of them standing with their backs to the sea. Hundreds more lie half-completed in a volcanic quarry, mysteriously abandoned after a tribal war (see TANGATA-MANU).
Opinion is divided regarding their purpose; some people believe they represent tribal leaders or ancient ancestors (see AKU-AKU) — and some people don’t. The subject has been ripe with rampant speculation, and Easter Island attracts cranks like you wouldn’t believe.
The mystery is enhanced by the fact that most of the MOAI weigh a truly ridiculous amount of tons. How did the primitive Rapanui islanders shift those colossal statues across the landscape without the benefit of computers and cell phones?
Many theories have been proposed, including ingenious block-and-tackle engineering by the natives, and extraterrestrial intervention by space aliens. But we prefer the simple solution, as explained most convincingly by the native islanders: "They just got up and walked by themselves".