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CHILE - APRIL 1: Moai, megalithic anthropomorphic statues, Anakena, Rapa-Nui National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1995), Easter Island, Chile. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Easter Island is famous for its iconic stone heads. These statues, known as Moai, are a mystery of human ingenuity. Standing an average of 13 feet high and weighing 14 tons each, nearly 1,000 statues are positioned around the island, which is governed by Chile. Archeologists have long debated what the statues mean and how on earth a relatively small population could manage this engineering feat in the years following the arrival of the Polynesian people in 800 A.D.

"It is amazing that an island society made of 10 to 12 chiefdoms had sufficient unity and ability to communicate carving standards, organize carving methods and achieve political rights of way … to transport statues to every part of the island," said archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg, founder of UCLA's Easter Island Statue Project. 

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