5 Nov 2003

German firm to preserve Easter Island statues

7:10 am on 5 November 2003

UNESCO has awarded a German firm, Maar Denkmalpflege, a contract to preserve the world-famous but decaying Moai head sculptures on Easter Island.

According to Reuters news agency the company plans to begin treating the statues with chemicals in early 2005 in a project estimated to cost about 11 million US dollars.

The chemicals should prevent moisture passing through the stone and stabilise it, stopping the growth of large cracks now forming rapidly.

The Moai statues are between 400 and 1000 years old and average 4 metres in height, weighing up to 82 tonnes.