Apparently excavations of the bodies have been going on for some time now, you can find out more from the Easter Island Statue Project. It’s generally accepted that the statues were made sometime between 1000 and 1650 AD. There is controversy surrounding why the bodies are buried, the real reason is unknown. Was it time and erosion, or were they buried on purpose? The soil surrounding the bodies for so long has preserved interesting carvings. – source – thethinkbox.
Before we began our excavation we visited the basalt quarries and outcrops sampled by our colleague Dr. Christian Fischer as part of our XRF analysis project. We have collected XRF data on over 40 sites. That information will be used byRapa Nui student Rafael Rapu in his comparative study of tools (toki) retrieved in our excavations.
Also in May of 2011, Chris Fischer and Mónica Bahamondez, director of the Centro Nacional de Conservación y Restauración (CNCR), treated the excavated portions of both statues with water repellant. On drizzly days or days with intermittent rain we were amazed to see how well the repellant did its job! Droplets quickly beaded up and didn’t penetrate the surfaces of either statue. We noted that the stone surfaces usually dried within a maximum of ten minutes. We are also now engaged in a plan to share our extensive on-site environmental data with colleagues modeling the island’s ecology. While many statues have individual petroglyphs, these and only one other statue—of over 1,000 we have documented—have multiple petroglyphs carved as a composition on their backs. Underlying these carvings is a complex symbol found on less than 100 statues. It is referred to by previous researchers as the “ring and girdle” design, and sometimes said to represent the “sun and rainbow.” However, statue RR-001-156 and some others have two “rings” above the crescent “girdle.” We have long interpreted this form as the Rapa Nui version of the Polynesian maro or loincloth (maro is also a unit of measurement). As we noted long ago on a statue torso (007) at Ahu Oroi (12-460), the upright “Y” or “M” element below the maro on both of our excavated statues represents two hafted adzes. This depiction, which may be interpreted as evidence of craft specialization in the form of an emblem. – source – eisp.