Rano Raraku quarry (Figure 1), within which 95% of the over 1,000 Easter Island stone statues was carved, is a massive crater of consolidated volcanic ash surrounding an interior, reed-filled lake (Figure 2). About half of the total number of statues recorded to date is still within the quarry zone.
Some 150 statues stand upright on the interior and exterior slopes of Rano Raraku. They are buried to varying depths and appear often as heads only. While weathered and worn by centuries of exposure to the elements, many of them are still very beautiful (Figure 3).
Rano Raraku was first reported to the outside world in 1868 by officers of HMS Topaze. The world was fascinated, and many sketches, essays, newspaper articles, and books were published describing the statues embedded in the slopes as “heads.” Over 90 excavations in Rano Raraku since that time exposed the torsos of many statues. Katherine and William Scoresby Routledge of the Mana Expedition to Easter Island, 1914-15 published photos of their own digs illustrating the bodies of many statues. In 1954-55 Thor Heyerdahl and his Norwegian Archaeological Expedition to Easter Island excavated others, further documenting the existence of complete, but partially buried, statues.
To read more about this historical and astonishing discovery, please click on the dedicated web-site link below:-