Moai, Easter Island
Photograph by Randy Olson, National Geographic
Their backs to the Pacific, 15 restored moai stand watch at Ahu Tongariki, the largest of Easter Island's ceremonial stone platforms. Rapanui artisans carved the moai centuries ago from volcanic rock at a quarry a mile away. By the 19th century all of Easter's moai had been toppled—by whom or what is unclear. In 1960 these moai were swept inland by a tsunami, which fractured some (left).
See more pictures from the July 2012 feature story "If Only They Could Talk."