The first group of statues to be re-erected
The Ahu Akivi – the platform of Akivi -(ahu means platform) was the first full platform to be restored in 1960. It is an inland ahu, lying in the middle of the island down a rough track leading off the Hanga Roa to Anakena road. This is the sight that greets the visitor when you leave your car in the car park. When I went there, the sun was shining, but as can be seen, a thunderstorm was imminent
And here are the statues, all seven of them, facing gauntly out from their platform.
They were re-erected in 1960 by the American archaeologist William Mulloy, (1917 to 1970) professor of anthropology at Wyoming university.
Mulloy was already a distinguished American archaeologist, specialising in the archaeology of the American Plains, when he was recruited by Thor Heyerdahl for his 1956 expedition to Easter Island. Mulloy was the senior archaeologist on the expedition, and he fell in love with Easter Island and made over 20 visits there over the next 27 years and became the leading authority on the archaeology of the island. He restored not only this ahu, but also the complex at Tahai, and most important of all, he was the excavator and restorer of the ‘birdman’ sanctuary at the volcano at Orongo
This is my favourite photo of the statues staring out over their territory. Note however that most of them lost their heads when they were toppled by the islanders, and the heads have had to be cemented back on.
Map of the island to show the position of the ahu.
It is one of the few platforms that did not have a coastal position and thus the statutes actually face the sea, though in practice they were facing the village that lies on the flat ground in front of them.
This is a view of the statues from the back, showing the sea in the distance. In the foreground however are the foundations of several rectangular boxes that William Mulloy discovered. One of them was full of cremated human bones, thus demonstrating that some at least of the platforms also had a funerary role.
These are two of my favourite moai: I don’t know which I prefer, but they somehow seem to be typical in their gaunt respectability. I get the impression that though they were leaders of their community, they were not in fact terribly bright, but they were nevertheless very important and respected. They were the sort of chieftain who says very little, not giving away that they are not very bright, but nevertheless they are good at intuiting the conventional wisdom and thus they gained a reputation for being very wise. And they are more than a little self-satisfied in being considered to be very wise.
Note that the left-hand statue has his hands with long fingers clasped across his belly, while the right-hand one has had his head cemented back on again.
This is one of the best of all the platforms I visited.