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Easter Island - Tour the Island
4.Ahu Akivi

1. Rano Raraku 2. Ahu Tongariki 3. Ahu Vinapu 4.Ahu Akivi 5. Ahu Naunau 6. Ahu Tahai 7. Rano Kau and Orongo

Built in 1460 this site was one of the later constructions built, probably at a time when the statue cult was beginning to unravel. Unlike other sites, Akivi is inland and has a commanding view of the western part of the island. Its 7 moai, all about 14 feet tall and approx. 12 metric tons each, are remarkably similar. When UCLA archeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg documented all the statues on the island the Ahu Akivi statues were found to be the statistical average of all the moai.

The statues were raised and the site restored in the 50's by famed archeologist William Mulloy. Studies suggest that the ahu itself was begun around 1442 and lasted until 1600. Van Tilburg has postulated that during that time 8 chiefs of this region could have ruled. It is thought that perhaps the statues where build by the 8th chief who was most likely a direct descendant of the others. As statue construction stopped about this time this 8th chief never got his due after building such an austere and beautiful monument. I found myself returning again and again to this site during my visit to Rapa Nui. After photographing it in every possible light I realized that night a full moon would be rising in the area.

moonrise on easter islandI didn't know exactly where it would rise but I stayed at Akivi in the hopes I could get a shot of it alongside a moai. As I sat directly in front of the center of the line of moai the moon rose up and over the ahu perfectly aligned with the center. Little has been written about any relation between celestial events and the positioning of the ahu although it is suspected that in at least 12 sites there was some connection.

As I sat and watched the moonlight illuminate the moai I tried to imagine what would have been happening at this site 400 years ago.


Next: Ahu Naunau

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