Of all the ahu in Easter Island, the most prestigious one is certainly Tongariki, which has 15 statues located in front of the Rano Raraku quarry, less than 2 km away.
Like all the other ahu, the Tongariki was devastated during the time in which the clans that fought against each other rejected the worship to the ancestors. Although the Tongariki exposes 15 statues, other 17 older moai were found at the base. Some of them still remain at the site (in fact, three ahu were superimposed in the same place throughout history). Today, the specialists study cubic meters of valuable archives. As for the statue that lies on the ground in front of the ahu, it is not a moai from Tongariki, but a statue that was being transported. The eyes hadn’t been sculpted yet, since it had just left the quarry of Rano Raraku.
Hopefully, the sea will not wreak havoc again, because it would ruin the restoration work that lasted over 2 years. In light of this excavation, and with modern equipment such as cranes or computers, it is possible to estimate the genius of the ancient islanders to lift all the ceremonial platforms in the island only with the strength of their arms. Today, the Tongariki ahu, whose left part was restored in 2001, is the biggest South Pacific monument (the professional tour guides of the island will show you the petroglyphs and other details associated with this impressive monument.)