Easter Island Moai statues may have helped ancient farmers

Archeologists believe quarrying helped to release nutrients to the soil of ancient farms on Easter Island


NSFW    EASTER ISLAND / CHILE — Easter Island's Moai[e] stone monoliths might have been created out of the belief they would make crops more fertile, according to new research by the University of California, Los Angeles.

According to a UCLA press release, ancient Easter Islanders built over 1,000 Moai statues under the direction of the ruling elite in a remarkable feat of human engineering.

According to the study, published in the Journal of Archeological Sciences, Rano Raraku quarry is the origin point for over 95 percent of all Moai statues.

Researchers studied two monoliths found in the quarry and took extensive soil samples from the surrounding areas.

Analysis by the researchers found that quarrying would have helped in releasing clay soil that is rich in phosphorus and calcium.

Those elements would have helped the growth of bananas, sweet potatoes and taro that Easter Islanders grew extensively near the quarry.
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