No one has ever conclusively proven how the statues on Easter Island, the moai, were moved into place. The story told by generations of Rapanui, the indigenous residents of the island, describe the moai walking the land animated by mana, a spiritual force transmitted by powerful ancestors. Archaeologists Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo tested a way the moai might have “walked,” and found it plausible.
Previous theories on moai transportation were found prohibitively costly in terms of resources and manpower. Hunt and Lipo’s method, however, needed only 18 men and a bit of rope. With the statue secured from three sides with rope, the team rocked the statue back and forth, effectively “walking” it. Sergio Rapu, a Rapanui archaeologist, details how this is possible: The moai‘s belly tilts it forward and its D-shaped base allows it to be rocked from side to side.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you move a 10-foot, 5-ton statue from one end of the island to the other.