Easter dating system
Opinions differ widely on how they were moved and raised (Some think they were walked; others that they were pushed on log rollers.) but no one disputes the years of effort involved in getting the statues carved and into place.
Some stones weighed 80t, twice the weight of Stonehenge's, and were transported 16km from the quarry.
Plenty of other scientists felt that the seafaring Polynesian people were more likely to have made such an awesome journey.
Only recently though has DNA evidence provided proof of the first Islanders' origins.
They came to the Island from the west not the east, a journey which marked the furthest outpost of Polynesian society. Carbon dating of artefacts on Easter Island shows the Polynesians landed around AD700.
It seems they lived an isolated existence for the next thousand years on an island measuring 22x11km, roughly the size of Jersey.
The Island's bird life seems to have disappeared as does evidence of people eating porpoise and tuna. A land of plenty had become desperately short of food.
The strangers were about to find something very strange themselves - an island dotted with hundreds of huge stone statues and a society that was not as primitive as they expected.
The first meeting was an immense clash of cultures.
With their backs to the sea they could inspire and protect the Islanders.
Scarce, violent times That protection fell apart in the 1600s. Legends talk of a time of hardship, terror and cannibalism.