The Ahu O Rongo Project: Archaeological Research On Rapa Nui
Scientific Links between Rapa Nui and the Royal Museurn of Art and History in Brussels (RMAH) were estabIished in 1934-1935 on the occasion of the Franco-Belgian Expedition. This expedition, one of the first large-scale scientific enterprises on Easter Island, lasted for five months and was directed by the Swiss ethnographer Alfred Metraux and the Belgian archaeologist Henri Lavachery, associate curator at the RMAH (Lavachery 1935; Forment 1985, 1990). As a result of this expedition an important collection of Easter Island ethnographic and archaeological artifacts was shipped to Europe and divided principally among the Musee de l'Homme in Paris and the RMAH in Brussels. The latter museum obtained, among a wealth of other objects, an archaic-looking colossal anthropomorphic sculpture, almost 3 m high and weighing about 6 tons. It is one of the very few moai that have ever been taken from the island.