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Photo of team pouring concrete into Moai mold Moai Mold is Filled
by Liesl Clark
April 24, 1998

Every 60 minutes, 50 wheelbarrows of concrete were dumped into the mold. A rebar (reinforcing bars) cage sat inside the moai-shaped mold, which was buried in a hole. Two generator-powered mixers turned over and over as Jan Van Tilburg, Ted Ralston, and four Rapa Nui men fed them with the specially calculated ingredients for a concrete Easter Island moai. As Darus Ane moved a vibrating rod through the cement mixture to get rid of air pockets, Santi Hito distributed it evenly inside the fiberglass mold. With a mix of local red scoria, sand, cement, and imported aggregate to lighten the density, the concrete replica will be close in look, weight, and texture to the volcanic tuff (hardened ash) of Rano Raraku quarry, the ancient site where most of Easter Island's moai were carved. In about three hours the whole process was done and the mold was filled to the brim.

Photo of team moving the Moai mold The next step is to let the concrete cure for three days before extracting the moai from the mold. During those three days, Raphael Rapu will prepare the ahu (platform) for the moai at Tongariki. He and his crew are gathering rock and dirt to build an ahu. A ramp must also be prepared for the raising experiment. In the meantime, islanders are lining up to take part in these experiments as pullers and helpers with levers. We'll need 70 people to move the moai and an estimated 40 people for raising it. Will this be enough? According to Raphael Rapu, who worked with Thor Heyerdahl in an experiment to move a moai using ancient technology, it took 30 people eight hours to move a moai 444 yards (400 meters). Their statue was standing up. Ours will be horizontal on logs and rollers.

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

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