‘Orongo is a stone village and ceremonial center at the southwestern tip of Rapa Nui (Easter Island). It was investigated and restored in 1974 by American archaeologist William Mulloy and his Chilean colleague, Gonzalo Figueroa García-Huidobro. Orongo enjoys a dramatic location on the crater lip of Rano Kau at the point where a 250 meter sea cliff converges with the inner wall of the crater of Rano Kau. ‘Orongo now has world heritage status as part of the Rapa Nui National Park.
‘Orongo was until the mid-nineteenth century the center of the birdman cult which featured an annual race to bring the first manutara (sooty tern) egg from the islet of Motu Nui to Orongo. The site has numerous petroglyphs mainly of tangata manu (birdmen).
In the 1860s most of the Rapa Nui islanders died of slavery and disease, and when the survivors were converted to Christianity, Orongo fell into disuse. In 1868 the crew of HMS Topaze removed Hoa Hakananai'a from ‘Orongo, this unusual rare Basalt Moai is now in the British Museum
- Mulloy, William. Investigation and Restoration of the Ceremonial Center of Orongo. International Fund for Monuments Bulletin No. 4. New York (1975).
- Mulloy, W.T., and S.R. Fischer. 1993. Easter Island Studies: Contributions to the History of Rapanui in Memory of William T. Mulloy. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
- Routledge, Katherine Pease (Scouresby). 1919. The Mystery of Easter Island; the Story of an Expedition. London, Aylesbury, Printed for the author by Hazell, Watson and Viney.
- Official Site for Rapa Nui National Park
- Rapa Nui National Park - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
- photos of location, Birdman and houses
- Hoa Hakananai'a at the British Museum