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The Plan
by Liesl Clark

We have rope, logs, 70 volunteers, plenty of bananas and sweet potatoes, dirt, and an endless supply of rocks. The replica moai, made from a mixture of concrete and red scoria, weighs 10 tons and is 14 feet high. We will pretend that the moai came from the top of the quarry, above a cliff that drops down hundreds of feet. The easiest way to get the moai down may have been to lower it down the quarry cliff. At the cliff's base, it will take a direct course over hilly terrain toward its destination platform, or ahu, where it will need to be erected. Next to the ahu lies a one ton pukao, or top knot, a sort of hat that will be placed on the head of the moai. The challenge is to get the statue there, raise it, and put the pukao on its head without breaking it, or being tempted to use the crane that sits in town waiting for us to give up our travails and join the modern world. Given these supplies, how would you tackle this problem?

Over the course of the next four weeks, the following theorists will attempt their proposed methods. Will they be successful? And will they have to modify their plans?

Diagram of Vince Lee's theory Lowering the Moai Down the Quarry Cliff
Theorist: Vincent Lee
Method: Using ropes, logs as bollards (anchors), and levers, the moai will be lowered down the cliff and slope by a team of people anchoring it above.

Diagram of Jo Anne Van Tilberg's plan Transporting the Moai
Theorist: Jo Anne Van Tilburg
Method: "Facing up and lying down, the moai will first be transported on a wooden sledge above log rollers that will roll on the ground. The moai will then be placed on a track of buried wooden rails to see if this harder surface works better. Lastly, Jo Anne will try dragging the sledge utilizing the very moist trunks of banana plants as lubricant, without rollers over rails.

Putting on the Pukao
Theorist: Raphael Rapu
Method: When the moai reaches about 45 degrees in the raising experiment, the pukao will be rolled up the ramp and lashed to the head of the moai and will be raised with the moai.

Sketch of Claudio Cristino's theory Raising the Moai
Theorist: Claudio Cristino
Method: A stone ramp will be built for the moai to be raised on. Using levers, ropes, and more stones, the moai will slowly be raised to an upright position.

Past Attempts | Dispatches | The Plan | Team Profiles
Move the Moai Game (get shockwave plug-in) | Your Theories

Images: (1) Vincent Lee; (2) Claudio Cristino

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