The Grave of  Hotu ‘a Matu ‘a

ccording to legend, when Hotu Matua, the great mythical first King of Te Pito o Te Henua, died, his subjects made a pallet, placed his body on it and carried him to Akahanga. There they excavated a deep pit and buried him as his oldest son, Tu´u Maheke, stood by his head and his other three sons at his feet.

The Akahanga area, located in the center of the southeastern coast, covers an extension of 493 hectares (1,200 acres) and offers the greatest density of archaeology on Rapa Nui. At the shore of a small bay, there are two ceremonial centers, Ahu Akahanga itself over 60 meters (197 feet) long with 12 fallen, destroyed Moai (statues) and Ahu Ura Uranga Te Mahina with another 10 or 12 Moai. Both clearly show evidence of multiple constructions, one on top of the other, as an indication of persistent ceremonial and religious activity during four or more centuries that included all the tribes that lived in the area (Ngaure and Marama).

Within the ruins of the monument, there is clear evidence of at least four superimposed constructions that run from east to west. On the eastern extreme, small low platforms can be seen with fragments of a Moai of no more than 1.5 meter (5 feet) in height; on the western edge, there is a complex monumental structure with gigantic statues which were as much as 5.70 meters (18.5 feet) high with an estimated weight of 40 tons.  

On the central platform, rectangular blocks of red scoria form a frieze over the enormous stone blocks of the front wall. These levels of the base date to the 14th Century, although the high point of this sacred ceremonial altar was probably in the 17th Century.