Hoa Hakananai’a, Moai from Easter Island

My ARCHAEO-Crush for the month of June is a statue you will seldom see in a museum…

A boy sketches Hoa Hakananai'a, the moai at the British Museum.

A boy sketches Hoa Hakananai’a, the moai at the British Museum.














Type: artefact (stone statue)
Civilisation: Polynesia, Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
Date: circa 1000 CE.
ARCHAEO-Crush: The moai (statues) on Easter Island are rather mysterious and I find them interesting. However, I can’t say that I know much about them. I like their imposing presence on the island landscape and their minimalist aesthetics. The statue on the photo is called Hoa Hakananai’a (which apparently means ‘hidden or stolen friend’) and is one of the smaller statues: it measures 2.42m tall and weighs about 4 tons. Imagine the size and weight of the larger moai! Hoa Hakananai’a was brought back from Rapa Nui on the HMS Topaze and was offered to the British Admiralty, who in turn offered it to Queen Victoria, who gave it to the British Museum in 1869…
Bucket list status: I saw Hoa Hakananai’a at the British Museum a few years ago. I had no idea there was a moai at the BM and I spent a long while staring at it, thinking I might never have the chance to see a moai again.  I go say hello each time I visit the BM; he used to be in the corner of the Millennium Court, but now he’s in the Wellcome Gallery, looking more majestic than ever.  If I have the opportunity of going to Rapa Nui, I shall go see the moai…
Additional information: Hoa Hakananai’a is one of the rare moai outside of Easter Island. Rapa Nui National Park is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, number 715.

Fefi strikes back!

The NCMA’s most ancient blogger has posted his second lesson on Circa. This time, he’s helping us decipher the spelling of his name. Go check out the post and learn a few hieroglyphs!

The NCMA editors tell me that Fefi’s first post is actually the most viewed one on the Museum blog! Not bad for a dead guy, huh?

AIA Young Archaeologists Program

In the recent of volume of Archaeology, the publication of the Archaeological Institute of America, I read of a new programme starting in October that seems pretty awesome.

In the fall, the AIA will, and I quote from page 66, “allow young archaeology enthusiasts to be part of the AIA.” Kids and teens will get an ID card, a subscription to a newsletter and an archaeology publication… and get to do a bunch of other very cool things!

You can sign up for an email to find out when the program launches in the fall at archaeological.org/launchalert

The Giza pyramids from space…

This post has nothing to do with aliens, Star Gate or any such things.

I came across a picture of the Giza pyramids taken by NASA astronaut Terry W. Virts from the International Space Station recently and I thought it was pretty cool.  Virts tweeted about it and you can see his picture in his tweet below:

Apparently the pyramids are quite difficult to photograph from up there… if you check out this short article on the Cairo Scene website, you’ll see another picture of the Giza Plateau taken last year by another (unnamed) astronaut… can you you see the pyramids on that picture?  They are there… my keen archaeologist’s eyes spotted them. (Isn’t this like playing where’s Waldo?)

The Kelsey’s Ugly Object of the Month

Suzanne at the Kelsey had mentioned this blog post idea when I visited last month. I’m glad it came into being because ‘ugly’ objects can be very important–sometimes more important than pretty ones!
Enjoy this post on Aphrodite and her prosthetic legs!

The Kelsey Blog

BY SUZANNE DAVIS, Curator for Conservation, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Beauty isn’t everything at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology; we value all evidence of life in the ancient world, even when the object is, erm, ugly. This month’s ugly object is an Aphrodite figurine made from copper alloy (aka bronze).

Figurine of Aphrodite. Bronze. Late 3rd century AD? KMA 10888. Before treatment. Figurine of Aphrodite. Bronze. Late 3rd century AD? KMA 10888. Before treatment.

I would never argue that Aphrodite herself is unattractive, but this figurine has seen better days. It was severely corroded when excavated at Karanis, Egypt, in the 1930s, and the legs were in pieces. Sometime after excavation, the corrosion patina was stripped with an electrochemical treatment that was once popular for archaeological metals. This resulted in a dull, brown, pitted surface with multiple holes.

Fast forward to 2015, when this object was chosen for a special exhibition. We wanted to reattach the feet and other fragments, but the…

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