"Ahu" Top 5 Page for this destination Easter Island Things to Do Tip by pure1942
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The term ‘ahu’ refers to the ceremonial platforms on which the giant moai statues were erected. Around 350 ahu and their remains can be found on the island, with the vast majority of them found along the coast. The construction of the ahu has led to some controversy over the years with some claiming that the precise construction of the ahu platforms is so similar to that of Inca sites in South Americas, that there is a likely link between the two ancient civilisations. These theories, while interesting and providing much food for thought, have been largely discredited by most and while it is romantic to ponder the connection, it is largely unfounded. While the ahus do share certain similarities to the great Inca style of masonry, with precision fitting of stones such as found at Ahu Te Peu and Ahu Vinapu, there are other glaring differences. While the Incas used solid stone blocks throughout their entire construction, the ahus on Easter Island only have this solid construction on the outside with the interior of the ahu platform being largely made up of loose pebbly rubble. The blocks only act as retaining walls albeit constructed with an impressive and exact technique.
During excavations of the ahus, many were found to contain the remains of dead bodies. Some of these bodies were cremated although it is as yet unclear whether these bodies were deceased clan members or sacrificial remains.
The ahus were normally orientated with the erected moai facing inland and the ahus usually looked out over a village. There was a gently sloping ramp leading up to the ahu platform and a paved ‘court’ or ‘plaza’ extended out from the ahu and constructed using flat stones which formed a semicircular paved area. Around this central ‘plaza’ the villagers built their ‘hare paenga’ and ‘hare vaka’ (boat shaped houses), ‘manavai’ (traditional greenhouses), ‘hare moa’ (hen houses) and ‘umu pae’ (earth ovens), remains of which can still be seen at many of the ahu sites on the island today, partucualrly at Ahu Te Peu, Ahu Akahanga and the Tahai ceremonial complex.
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