The 48 oval stone houses of this ceremonial village, likely constructed in the late 1600s and used by locals until 1866, were occupied only during the ceremony honoring the god Make-Make. The high point of the annual event was a competition in which prominent villagers designated servants to paddle small rafts to Motu Nui, the largest of three islets just off the coast. The first servant to find an egg of the sooty tern, a bird nesting on the islets, would swim back with
the prize tucked in a special headdress. His master would become the tangata manu, or birdman, for the next year. The tangata manu was honored by being confined to a cave until the following year's ceremony. Dozens of petroglyphs depicting birdlike creatures cover nearby boulders along the rim of Rano Kau. CONAF checks but does not sell tickets here. They are sold at the airport or at the CONAF office near the Padre Sebastian Sebastian Englert Anthropological Museum, and are good for Orongo and Rano Raraku, which are currently the only sites to which there is controlled entry.