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Site: Rapa Nui National Park (Easter Island)
Year Designated: 1995
Reason: Easter Island’s silent stone figures are a monument to the seafaring skills and unique culture of ancient Polynesian peoples.
Rapa Nui’s mysterious moai statues stand in silence but speak volumes about the achievements of their creators. The stone blocks, carved into head-and-torso figures, average 13 feet (4 metres) tall and 14 tons. The effort to construct these monuments and move them around the island must have been considerable—but no one knows exactly why the Rapa Nui people undertook such a task. Most scholars suspect that the moai were created to honor ancestors, chiefs, or other important personages, However, no written and little oral history exists on the island, so it’s impossible to be certain.
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