Very interesting new article in the Journal of Archaeological Science in the "article in press" section of the online journal. Carl P. Lipo, Terry L. Hunt, Sergio Rapu Haoa, in press 2012, The 'walking' megalithic statues (moai) of Easter Island, Journal of Archaeological Science, (http:dx/doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2012.09.029)
You might have seen the Nova-National Geographic special recently...here is a teaser from YouTube.
This is a great study case for research implications that can use software modeling to produce archaeological replicas for experimentation. Use of photographs for 3D modeling allowed the researchers to evaluate the physics of the forces that result in motion of the statues.
The journal article is well illustrated and describes how they were using the 4.35 metric ton concrete replica from the 3d model to demonstrate how a small number of people could have moved the large statues across the island. Combined with detailed attribute analysis of the various fallen and broken statues along the roads and paths, the authors make an interesting case that they were abandoned on route to a planned destination.
Reflections from a protest
3 weeks ago