Moai are the giant “head” statues found throughout Easter Island. They rest upon ceremonial platforms (called “ahus”), and represent different high-ranking ancestors.
Archeologists estimate that 1000-some statues were carved between 1000-1600AD.
All the maoi were made from the volcanic rock on the east side of the island. They were (likely) then rolled on logs to the far corners of the 60 sq mi island.
Most of the moai were toppled by the 1700s, the result of inter-tribal fighting. (Deforestation, which caused an ecological & agricultural collapse, was a major contribution.) It wasn’t until this century that some of the moai were set upright gain.
Why did the moai get bigger, grander, more elaborate? Why were so many built?
What’s always the answer to questions like this? Religion, competition, and big egos. :) Yes, all the tribal chiefs were male.