Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

NOVA Online (click here for NOVA home)
Secrets of Easter Island
menu (see bottom of page for text links)


Photo of A Tourist Attraction
by Liesl Clark
May 3, 1998


A bus of tourists drove up the road and instead of heading toward Tongariki, the largest ahu on the island, the tourists moved in the opposite direction, toward the replica moai that is about to be lifted into an upright position. It's another day out at the ahu, and now the experimental site has become a regular tourist attraction. Buses full of tourists come to witness experimental archaeology in action.

I've tried to use text to describe what transpired today, and all I can come up with are words that don't seem to explain anything, except my own disability to put into words very simple mechanical procedures. Here's my first attempt at writing about the raising of the red scoria pukao onto the head of the moai:

"Using a fixed anchor point and a running line, a rope was slung around the cylindrically-shaped pukao. By pulling on the top rope, the pukao slowly rolled forward as the distance was shortened between the pukao and the destination point above the head of the moai."

As you can see, words may not be the best way to communicate this scene, so Jan Van Tilburg has offered his expert drawing skills to illustrate what happened today. Click here to see Van Tilburg's four drawings of the process of raising the moai and pukao, which has taken place over the past 24 hours.

For the first time since early Rapa Nui history, a pukao is being raised with a moai, and the team is excited to see if it can be done using only wood, rope, stones, and human power. Tomorrow is the final day of raising, and Claudio Cristino feels confident it can be done in the time given.


Lessons Learned (May 11)
A New Way to Move a Moai (May 9)
Moai is Upright (May 6)
Moai Nearly Raised (May 5)
A Tourist Attraction (May 3)
The Secret of the Sledge (May 2)
Moai Ready to be Raised (May 1)
The Moai is Moved (April 30)
15-Ton Moai Removed from Mold (April 27)
Moai Platform Complete (April 26)
Moai Mold is Filled (April 24)
Moai Mold Ready for Concrete (April 23)
Statue Mold En Route (April 22)
The Team Arrives (April 20)
Arrival on Rapa Nui (April 17)




Photos: Liesl Clark

Move a Megalith | Dispatches | Explore the Island | Lost Civilization
Resources | E-mail | Table of Contents | Easter Island Home

Editor's Picks | Previous Sites | Join Us/E-mail | TV/Web Schedule
About NOVA | Teachers | Site Map | Shop | Jobs | Search | To print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated November 2000

Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site