Archaeologist digs deep to reveal more Easter Island torsos

The well-known heads of Easter Island’s statues are actually heads with torsos that have turn out to be partially buried by erosion, according to UCLA archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg.

There’s a lot more to the famous heads of Easter Island than meets the eye.

Ask archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg, a research associate at the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and director of its Rock Art Archive, who has been lecturing and writing about Easter Island’s iconic monolithic statues for years.

As the director of the Easter Island Statue Project — the longest-continuous collaborative artifact inventory ever conducted on the Polynesian island that belongs to Chile — Van Tilburg has opened a window on one of the greatest achievements of Pacific prehistory on one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world.

After spending four months over the last two years excavating two of the statues and posting the results of their digs on the project’s website ( ) , Van Tilburg was surprised to learn that a significant segment of the common public hadn’t realized that what they knew only as the Easter Island “heads” in fact had bodies.

To learn more about the Easter Island Statue Project and see more photos, including those of the Rapa Nui excavation team, go to the project website. A 2009 story in Backdirt, a magazine from the UCLA Cotsen Archaeological Institute, focuses on the project to save the moai.

Sources and more information:

• Do the Easter Island Heads Really Have Bodies?

Do the Easter Island Heads Really Have Bodies? Natalie Wolchover, Life’s Little Mysteries Staff Writer Date: 25 May 2012 Time: 11:00 AM ET FOLLOW US Easter Island “heads” on the slope of Rano Raraku volcano. CREDIT: Image via Shutterstock View full size image An email containing photos of a startling excavation project has inundated inboxes in…

• Easter Island archaeology project digs up island’s secrets

Easter Island archaeology project digs up island’s secrets Fox News. Published May 16, 2012 The first methodical investigation of the statues at Rapa Nui, which many think of as simple heads, reveals the complete figures buried over centuries by natural forces. (Easter Island Statue Project Jo Anne Van Tilburg) New photographs…

• Easter Island statues have full bodies and ancient petroglyphs

• Easter Island discovery: Huge statues found to have BODIES buried underground

• Hidden treat: The Easter Island heads also have BODIES