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Photo of moai near the top of the ramp, about two meters from the pedestal on
which it will rest. Pictured L-R are Edmundo (back to camera), Claudio, Jo
Anne, Ted, Jan, and Darus, with the pedestal at Darus' feet, but between
Darus and the camera. The Secret of the Sledge
by Liesl Clark
May 2, 1998

What took seconds to accomplish yesterday with the help of 50 people took all day today with 20. Under the direction of Claudio Cristino, a team of 20 Rapa Nui men and the Van Tilburg team worked together using levers and ropes to re-rig the moai transit rig and to move the moai three meters (ten feet) to its final raising position. First the transit rig under the moai had to be repositioned. Without using a crane for this difficult move, the team lifted the moai up onto logs and then slid the rig backward underneath the moai to position the entire sledge so it was flush with the base of the moai. Now the entire rig, including the moai, is in a good position to be raised as one unit to an upright position.

Photo of team levering up the sled Jo Anne Van Tilburg is convinced the sledge has been the secret behind her success in transporting the moai. It will also be useful in aiding her team as they raise it. "When this was done by Thor Heyerdahl," notes Van Tilburg. "He didn't use a frame (a wooden sledge). When he lifted the statue, he damaged it by trying to lever against the statue. Our rig enables you to lever against the wood and not the statue. The beauty of it is that we're not touching the statue." (See Past Attempts.

Tomorrow, the red scoria pukao will be lashed to the top of the moai's head at the top of the wooden sledge and then levers and stones will be used to aid the entire group in lifting the moai upright. No one has ever raised an Easter Island moai upright with a pukao on top. Will the team be able to do it?

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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