First Living Legacy Partnership in South America

Iron Mountain announces its first ever Living Legacy Initiative partnership in South America. Through our partnership with CyArk—the non-profit which aims to digitally record, safeguard, and archive world heritage sites—Iron Mountain helped preserve the moai of Rapa Nui (more commonly known as Easter Island) in Chile. The moai statues are carved by, and honor, the ancestors and leaders of the Rapu Nui people — also known as the native Polynesians of Easter Island. For more than 800 years, the island has held about 900 statues, many of which have now been designated World Heritage sites by UNESCO.

CyArk worked with the Rapa Nui National Park in collaboration with the Mau’u Henua, the Chilean National Monuments Commissions, and the managers of the Rap Nui National Park. Many of the platforms which the moai sit on, also known as ahus, due to severe weather events, are being affected by erosion.

“Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, is home to one of humanity's most enigmatic and instantly-recognizable archaeological landscapes,” said CEO of CyArk, John Ritevski. “In 2017 CyArk ventured there with the support of Iron Mountain to document a number of sites that are at risk from climate change and increasing sea levels.”

Iron Mountain’s Living Legacy Initiative is the company’s commitment to preserve and make accessible cultural and historical information and artifacts. We support non-profit organizations, museums or other non-government associations to help protect and share information that is unknown, at-risk or not widely accessible so that both current and future generations are able to learn and benefit from it. CyArk digitally preserved and archived the monuments using photogrammetry and 3-D laser technology. The scans will allow the Rapa Nui preservation team to protect these treasures for years to come.

“Our support of CyArk and projects like Rapa Nui are the expression of Iron Mountain’s philanthropic focus on, and commitment to, preserving our shared cultural heritage,” said Ary Acuna, Iron Mountain’s Country Manager of Chile. “Every day, all over the world, we serve as the trusted guardian for our customers’ most precious assets, and we take that responsibility seriously. Our Living Legacy Initiative enables Iron Mountain to extend that trust into the communities where we live and work all over the globe, helping to ensure that our shared heritage remains preserved and protected for generations to come.”

Rapa Nui sits 3500 km west of the Chilean coast and is one of the world’s most isolated inhabited pieces of land. Much of the wonder of Rapa Nui revolves around how these statues were carved, raised, and moved throughout the island. The moai average 13 feet high and weigh over 14 tons, all depicting kneeling men.

CyArk assists with those that oversee cultural heritage sites by providing engineering drawings and detailed maps to assist in critical conservation work and active management. They archive the data using state of the art processes to ensure that this data continues to be available in a disaster recovery scenario, tomorrow or decades in the future. Iron Mountain provides data back-up and preservation for the “gold copy” for all of CyArk’s data from digital scans in its underground storage facility. Past projects include the preservation of Lukang Longshan Temple in Taiwan; the Washington Monument in Washington, DC; the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin; and The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, Australia.

Check out this video to learn more about the work on Easter Island.