Rano Raraku is a volcanic crater formed of consolidated volcanic ash, or tuff, and located on the lower slopes of Terevaka in the Rapa Nui National Park on Easter Island. It was a quarry for about 500 years until the early eighteenth century, and supplied the stone from which about 95% of the island’s known monolithic sculptures (moai) were carved.
Rano Raraku is a visual record of moai design vocabulary and technological innovation, where 397 moai remain. Rano Raraku is in the World Heritage Site of Rapa Nui National Park and gives its name to one of the seven sections of the park.
The incomplete statues in the quarry are remarkable both for their number, for the inaccessibility of some that were high on the outside crater wall and for the size of the largest; at 71 ft in height, almost twice that of any moai ever completed and weighing an estimated 270 tonnes, many times the weight of any transported. Some of the incomplete moai seem to have been abandoned after the carvers encountered inclusions of very hard rock in the material. Others may be sculptures that were never intended to be separated from the rock in which they are carved.
Photo Credit: Mikael