Tag Archives: Polynesia

Ancient Easter Islanders Mingled with South Americans


Ancient Easter Islanders Mingled with South Americans

Easter Island is perhaps best known for its mysterious, monolithic stone statues that have been the subject of countless investigations, but the ancient Polynesian people who populated the island are also a focus of study. Easter Island is separated from South America by 2,300 miles (3,700 km) of ocean, ostensibly leaving its population fairly isolated prior to the arrival of Westerners in 1722. However, genetic analysis shows that the islanders had intimate contact with native South Americans sometime between 1300 and 1500, suggesting that a migration route between Polynesia and the Americas had been established by this period. More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Thor Heyerdahl Lands in Polynesia (1947)


Thor Heyerdahl Lands in Polynesia (1947)

Heyerdahl was a Norwegian adventurer with a passion for cultural anthropology. After a trip to Polynesia convinced him that Polynesian culture bore traces of South American cultures, he built a raft—the Kon-Tiki—and sailed it from South America to Polynesia to demonstrate the possibility of such contact. While his book about the voyage was an international bestseller, anthropologists have largely dismissed his theories. Why did he deliberately burn his ship during a 1978 expedition? More… Discuss