Video: Scientists Make Easter Island Statue Walk

Easter Island is a remote and mysterious place best known for the iconic and other worldly stone faces that dot its landscape. More than 880 of those statues, known as moai, are spread out across the island, some of which weigh in excess of 80 tons and stand more than 10 meters in height. One of the enduring mysteries of the moai is just how they were carved and then moved miles away from the stone quarry. Now two archaeologists believe that they have come up with the answer, which you can see demonstrated in the video below.

Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo believe that the inhabitants of Easter Island used ropes to rock the statues back and forth. This built forward momentum could then be used to “walk” the stone figures to their permanent sites. The duo put their theory to the test with a moai replica last year and was able to maneuver the large statue with as few as 18 people. As you can see from the video, which comes to us from National Geographic, this seems to be an efficient and quick way to move heavy objects.

So what do you think? Is this how the moai were moved about the island? Have Hunt and Lipo solved one of the great archaeological mysteries of all time?

Grilling Around The Globe: A Memorial Day Photo Tribute

Where there’s smoke, there’s barbecue – and there’s no better time than Memorial Day to light that grill. This year, instead of the same old, same old post on burgers, food safety and how not to burn the patio down, I thought I’d offer a photo tribute to grilling in all of its glorious permutations around the globe.

I confess to taking some liberties, and adding a few methods that don’t call for an open flame. The Hawaiian imu is a familiar site to luau lovers; it’s a pit filled with hot rocks that effectively roasts the food (in this instance, pork). The curanto from the Chilean archipelago of Chiloe is also Polynesian in origin (hailing from Easter Island, or Rapa Nui) and operates on the same principle, but also includes shellfish and potato cakes called milcao and chapaleles. Spit-roasted suckling pig, whether it’s Filipino lechon or Cajun cochon de lait, by any other name would taste as succulent.

Argentina remains the indisputable holy grail of grilling but plenty of other countries utilize fire –indirectly or not – to cook food, including Japan, Morocco, Turkey, Vietnam and Australia. Enjoy the slideshow and don’t forget to wipe your mouth.


Photo Of The Day: Easter Island P.D.

Spring is in full swing and Easter and Passover are coming this weekend. Looking for something seasonally appropriate, I searched the Gadling Flickr pool but instead of Easter the holiday, I found images of Easter the Island. This shot by davitydave especially caught my eye, showing the uniformed (and probably Chilean) Easter Island police looking rather stern and serious with their incredible and unusual view. I wonder what their “beat” is like? Do they see much action other than rowdy tourists and the occasional protest? Hey officers, I see some shady looking characters loitering down at the water.

Add your travel photos to the Gadling Flickr pool to be featured on another Photo of the Day.

Photo of the day – Easter Island at sunrise

Remote places are special. They certainly capture the imagination. Organized economically and socially around their distance from centers of commerce and distribution, they often share both a rhythm and many characteristics with each other.

Easter Island is one very remote place. The Chilean island, located over 2000 miles from the Chilean mainland (and another 2000-plus miles from Tahiti) is off on its own on the edge of Polynesia. Flickr user John Overmeyer snapped this impressive image of 14 of Easter Island’s mysterious Moai at sunrise.

Upload your favorite images of remote spots to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr. If we like what we see we might just choose one of your images to be a future Photo of the Day.

Five classic Chilean foods

Chilean food doesn’t have the glamour and romance of the cuisine of its neighbor, Argentina, nor the complexity and exotic Japanese influences bestowed upon the contemporary dishes of its other neighbor, Peru. I just returned from my second visit to Chile, where in between consuming epic quantities of manjar (dulce de leche) and pisco sours, I found more substantial food to love.

Chilean food is of humble origins; a combination of indigenous influence, simple technique, and hearty, regional ingredients designed to sustain and nourish the body despite limited means and harsh climate. Today, Santiago is a glossy, metropolitan capital of seven million, and there’s no shortage of high-end dining with regard to various cuisines. But travel beyond the city limits, and you’ll see tweaks on Chilean specialties depending upon what part of the country you’re visiting.

Northern Chile is largely high-altitude desert, while Central and Southern Chile have more of a focus on seafood. The following is a very simplified list, but they’re five of the most classic dishes to be found throughout the country.Try them for a taste of Chilean culture and history.

1. Empanadas
Not to be confused with the Argentinean variety, which are essentially a culture within a culture, the Chilean empanada is usually baked, larger and flatter in composition (either crescents or rectangular in shape), and less varied in variety. But what’s not to love about a tender, flaky pocket of dough stuffed with seasoned ground beef, hardboiled egg, and olive; roasted vegetables, or melted, stringy cheese? Not much. Find them at panaderias, shops, markets, or restaurants offering “comida typica.”

2. Curanto
This is a specialty of the lovely island and archipelago of Chiloe in Chilean Patagonia’s Lake District. Curanto is a shellfish, potato flatbread, and meat bake believed to have been inspired by Polynesian luau via Easter Island (Rapa Nui). It’s traditionally cooked in a pit that is covered with seaweed or the leaves of nalca, an indigenous plant related to rhubarb. The potato flatbreads, milcao, and chapalele (the latter flavored with pork cracklings), are delicious street foods in their own right that can be found in coastal towns throughout this region. A curanto is a must-see if you’re visiting Chiloe.3. Pastel de choclo
Sort of an indigenous shepherd’s pie, this comforting dish is composed of ground corn (choclo) mixed with hard-boiled egg, olive, and usually ground beef and/or chicken. It’s baked and served in an earthenware bowl called a paila, and it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

4. Caldillo de Congrio
Okay, I confess that I have a particular dislike for the congrio, or conger eel, which is an obsession in Chile. It’s not that it’s bad; I just don’t care for most fish as a rule (for the record, it’s fairly mild, white, firm, and rather dry and flaky). But I would be remiss to not include it, because it’s such a classic. Whether fried or served in a caldillo, or brothy soup seasoned with cilantro, carrots, potato, and fish stock, it’s hearty, rustic, and very representative of Chile’s culture of subsistence and commercial fishermen.

5. Chupe
This is a somewhat generic term for a creamy seafood stew enriched with milk or cream. Depending upon where you are (or what country you’re in, because it’s also found in Peru and Bolivia), chupe might contain shrimp (thus, it would be called chupe de camarones), fish, chicken, beef, or lamb. It also contains vegetables, potatoes or yuca, and tomato, but the magic is in the addition of merquen, an indigenous (via the Mapuche people) spice mixture made with smoked, powdered cacho de cabra chili. The end result is fragrant, complex, and delicious.

[Photo credits: Laurel Miller]