The quarry of Pūkao

Some 58 Moai (statues) of the 164 that were once raised on an Ahu (platform) received a crown or headdress of red volcanic scoria which was called a Pukao.  These were carved between the years 1250 and 1500 and probably represent a hair style, tied up like a bun, which was a common Rapa Nui usage. The red color is symbolic of that which is sacred and of the high rank associated with those persons with Mana, a supernatural power which emanates from the ancestors. 

Puna Pau is within the crater of Maunga Vai-o-Hao, an extinct volcano. One third of the crater was utilized in the production of Pukao, which could reach up to 11 tons in weight.  To date, more than 70 headdresses have been located, some on the ceremonial platforms and some abandoned en route to their platforms.  Many more may have been broken up and then incorporated into those same platforms. On one side of Puna Pau, a road was discovered which was used to transport the Pukao.  They were most probably pushed or rolled by hand, although it is also possible that wooden trunks were used.  All indications are that there were several different teams which worked in the quarry and competed to hold on to their own production areas within Puna Pau, just as in the quarry of the Moai on Rano Raraku.