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Abstract

This paper presents an analytical approach to megalithic statue (moai) transport on Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Archaeological field inventory has yielded metric data describing 55 morphological attributes of 887 moai: Of this number, 383 moai were sufficiently intact to be entered in a computerized data base (Cristino et al. 1981; Van Tilburg 1986: Vargas 1988; Gonzalez et al. 1988). An isolated subset of 134 moai, each possessing ten crucial measurements defining individual size, shape, weight and proportionate relationships of head to body, was submitted to cluster analysis. Six groupings of morphologically similar statues resulted, four of which are viable (Van Tilburg 1993: 91-2). Further analysis determined that the morphologically and statistically average statue transported from Rano Raraku quarry to various extra-quarry locations was a vertically rectangular cylinder standing 4.05 m tall and weighing 12.5 m tons (Van Tilburg 1993: 94). A transport model hypothesized for this average moai thus may be generalized with confidence to 46.9% of the moai in the study.

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