Rapa Nui: Orongo

Orongo is the ceremonial village used by the Rapa Nui and located on the edge of the inactive volcano, Rano Kau. According to archaeologists, Orongo is one of the most profound archaeological sites ever discovered. Initially, people used the village as a ceremonial center. Here priests carried out the practices of initiation, allowing children to enter adulthood. The “Mata Ngara’u” is the last house constructed solely for this purpose and is the only known location of petroglyph engravings in the entire area. Birdmen, Komaris and the creator God are depicted. Buildings made entirely of stone served as a temporary residence during the Birdman era. This period consisted of representatives from each tribe competing for the privileges of the king and the opportunity to choose a wife. Throughout the centuries, many of the houses eventually succumbed to weathering, resulting in most falling apart to varying degrees. However, the buildings underwent restoration in 1974 and 1976 by American archaeologist, William Mulloy.