Easter Island (Pacific Ocean) – 1,000 years old
One of the world’s most famous yet least visited archaeological sites, Easter Island is a small, hilly, now treeless island of volcanic origin. Located in the Pacific Ocean at 27 degrees south of the equator and some 2200 miles (3600 kilometers) off the coast of Chile, it is considered to be the world’s most remote inhabited island. Sixty-three square miles in size and with three extinct volcanoes (the tallest rising to 1674 feet), the island is, technically speaking, a single massive volcano rising over ten thousand feet from the Pacific Ocean floor. The oldest known traditional name of the island is Te Pito o Te Henua, meaning The Center (or Navel) of the World. In the 1860s Tahitian sailors gave the island the name Rapa Nui, meaning Great Rapa, due to its resemblance to another island in Polynesia called Rapa Iti, meaning Little Rapa. The island received its most well known current name from the Dutch sea captain Jacob Roggeveen, who, on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1722, became the first European to visit.
The barren lands and social strife that Admiral Roggeveen reported during his visit in 1722 make it difficult to imagine the extraordinary culture that had flowered on the island during the previous 1400 years. That culture’s most famous features are its enormous stone statues called moai, at least 288 of which once stood upon massive stone platforms called ahu. There are some 250 of these ahu platforms spaced approximately one half mile apart and creating an almost unbroken line around the perimeter of the island. Another 600 moai statues, in various stages of completion, are scattered around the island, either in quarries or along ancient roads between the quarries and the coastal areas where the statues were most often erected. Nearly all the moai are carved from the tough stone of the Rano Raraku volcano. The average statue is 14 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 14 tons. Some moai were as large as 33 feet and weighed more than 80 tons (one statue only partially quarried from the bedrock was 65 feet long and would have weighed an estimated 270 tons).
Read more at: http://www.world-mysteries.com/easter_island.htm