The main quarry for Easter Island's statues, this volcanic crater is a virtual moai graveyard.
The stone-faced giants lie in various states of production. Some are half carved, many are
broken, and many seem to have been abandoned in mid-transport. Most remarkably, at the
base of the quarry, moai stand half buried in the slope—up to their chins and noses—from
years of erosion.
To some observers the quarry
looks like a graveyard of stone giants. It's as if the production of moai was abruptly
abandoned, leaving us a frozen
snapshot in time so we can look closely at exactly how the moai were carved out of the
available rock. This quarry and the nearby transport road is the staging area on which many speculators base their theories
on how the moai were transported. Archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg suggests that the moai production
in Rano Raraku quarry probably started and stopped often over the years, possibly due to periodic resource
shortages or to political disagreements.