The mystery of how hats were put on Easter Island statues may have been solved

A team of researchers in the US says it may have solved the mystery of how the massive and incredibly heavy red scoria hats were placed atop the select Easter Island statues, or moai, that wear them, according to a Pennsylvania State University news release

The matter has long perplexed many as the headgear measures up to 6.5 feet in diameter and weighs roughly 13 tons.

The statues themselves stand up to 33 feet tall.

See more of the mysterious statues: 

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The Seven Moais (Restored In 1960 By Archaeologist William Mulloy) Of Ahu Akivi Are The Only Moai To Face The Ocean, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile (Photo by: Insights/UIG via Getty Images)
CHILE - JANUARY 20: A horse and the five Moai (anthropomorphic monolithic statues) of Ahu Vai Ure, Rapa Nui National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1995), Easter Island, Chile. Polynesian civilisation. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - DECEMBER 16: Chile, Easter Island, Rapa-Nui National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1995). Rano Raraku crater, Moais (megalithic anthropomorphic statues) (Photo by De Agostini Picture Library/De Agostini/Getty Images)
CHILE - JANUARY 20: The Seven Moai (anthropomorphic monolithic statues), Ahu Akivi Archaeological Site, Rapa Nui National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1995), Easter Island, Chile. Chile, Polynesian civilisation. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
Ahu Akivi Moais -- stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture -- are seen on Easter Island, 3700 km off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on July 13, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Martin Bernetti (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
CHILE - JANUARY 20: Moai (anthropomorphic monolithic statue) of Ahu Tahai and the five Moai of Ahu Vai Ure, Rapa Nui National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1995), Easter Island, Chile. Polynesian civilisation. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
CHILE - JANUARY 20: The five Moai (anthropomorphic monolithic statues) of Ahu Vai Ure, Rapa Nui National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1995), Easter Island, Chile. Polynesian civilisation. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
View of a Moais -- stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture -- on Easter Island, 3700 km off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on July 9, 2010. Hundreds of scientists, tourists and locals expect to see from the Easter Island the almost five-minute total eclipse that will take place on July 11, at the same time of the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 final. AFP PHOTO/Martin Bernetti (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Ahu Akivi Moais -- stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture -- are seen on Easter Island, 3700 km off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on July 13, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Martin Bernetti (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Chile Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) - moai (Photo by Weller/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Chile Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) - Moais at Ahu Tongariki (Photo by Weller/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Moai By The Quarry In The Crater Of Rano Raraku Volcano, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile (Photo by: Insights/UIG via Getty Images)
A group of tourists visit Moais (background) -- stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture -- on Easter Island, 3700 km off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on July 9, 2010. Hundreds of scientists, tourists and locals expect to see from the Easter Island the almost five-minute total eclipse that will take place on July 11, at the same time of the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 final. AFP PHOTO/Martin Bernetti (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Moai By Ahu Tongariki, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile (Photo by: Insights/UIG via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Chile Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) - Moais (stone figurine) (Photo by Weller/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Chile Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) - Moai at Ahu Tongariki (Photo by Weller/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Chile Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) Easter Island (Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui) - Moais at Rano Raraku (Photo by Weller/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - FEBRUARY 07: Statues in a row, Moai Statues, Ahu Akivi, Easter Island, Chile (Photo by De Agostini Picture Library/De Agostini/Getty Images)
Tourists stop to admire the massive stone sentinels of Ahu Tongariki on Easter Island in Chile. (Photo by Jane Wooldridge/Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
The massive stone sentinels of Ahu Tongariki seem imperious, an uncompromising guard against the gluttonous sea crashing at its flank on Easter Island in Chile. (Photo by Jane Wooldridge/Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
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“The best explanation for the transport of the…[hats] from the quarry is by rolling the raw material to the location of the moai…Once at the moai, the [hats] were rolled up large ramps to the top of a standing statue using a parbuckling technique,” Carl P. Lipo is quoted as saying in the release. 

According to the statement, “Parbuckling is a simple and efficient technique…[where]…the center of a long rope is fixed to the top of a ramp and the two trailing ends are wrapped around the cylinder to be moved. The rope ends are then brought to the top where workers pull on the ropes to move the cylinder up the ramp.” 

It’s estimated that it would have made it possible for as few as 15 workers to “move the largest preform hats up the ramps.”

The team came to its conclusion by using “photogrammetry and 3-D imaging.” 

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