Ara O Te Moia: A key site on Easter Island
This week’s post on Easter Island is devoted to my favourite site: Ara O Te Moia (the quarry). You will recall I introduced three key sites and other key facts about the Easter Island in last week’s post (found here) and then I focussed on Ahu Tongariki. I will discuss the third site (Rano Kau and Orongo) in next week’s post.
Interesting points about the quarry
There are a large and diverse range of incomplete and standing moia located at the site. Various paths run through the site. It is apparent that some of the moia have been carved by the same person, given their similarities. However, most moia show different styles (as can be seen in the following photos).
The largest moia is also found at the quarry. This moia is 21.6 metres (71 feet) in height and is shown in the photo below. It has never been completed or transported which isn’t surprising given it’s estimated to weigh 270 tonnes.
There are two notable differences from the information I provided in last week’s post on Ahu Tongariki. Firstly, there are no top knots to be found on any of the moia at the quarry and, secondly, the moia at the quarry were not cast down during the civil wars.
Location of the Quarry
The quarry is close to Ahu Tongariki. Indeed the photo following, that shows Ahu Tongariki in the distance was taken from the quarry:
Easter Island is triangular in shape with one part of the triangle being on the northern side, the second part being on the western side and the third being on the south-eastern side. For a map of Easter Island click this link.
Being near Ahu Tongariki, the quarry is found near the north-eastern corner of the island. For reference, the photo above is looking towards the north-eastern corner of the island.
Although the paths at the site are short in length, there is much information to be gleaned at the site so make sure you set aside plenty of time for the visit. I would recommend taking a guide with you or, as a minimum, have a good source of information at your fingertips. I spent two hours at the site in the late afternoon with a guide. I would have missed out on a lot of detail without having a guide present.
The late afternoon was a good time to go. On the way out I took a number of photos with the moia in silhouette to better display the interesting cloud formations. A flash would have been useful if you wanted to keep the detail in the moia.
I was also lucky to encounter more horses roaming over the site at the end of our visit:
The quarry is a fascinating site to visit on Easter Island. It is easy to explore. Make sure you allow plenty of time for the visit and, if possible, take a guide with you. I visited in the late afternoon and this worked well as far as I was concerned.
Next week I will publish my third and last instalment on Easter Island focussing on Rano Kau (the crater) and Orongo.