09 September 2008

The Amazing Kon Tiki Expedition

Have you heard about Thor Heyerdahl and his Kon-Tiki Expedition?

Most stories of epic adventure can only be found within the pages of fictional novel or the latest Russell Crowe extravaganza, depending on your source of merriment.

Well, this Norwegian man lived it; fun, excitement, adventure, you name it!

Thor Heyerdahl believed that the ancient folk of South America had explored and settled in Polynesia. Hence, the humble beginnings of the good people of Polynesia was the adrenaline driven tale of sailing the high seas for some blokes from South America.

It was a disputed theory and a lot experts had their doubts about it. In fact, this seems to be a widely debated theory today - who were the original Polynesians, could they have come from South America or did Polynesians settle / travel to South America?

Good content for an epic story lurks amidst those questions.

Point of this blog post is Thor Heyerdahl's brave journey in 1947 on a raft from South America to Polynesia.

The raft, called Kon-Tiki, was made of material similar to material used by the ancient folk of the time and the methods for construction were akin to the processes of that era. Hence, this was sort of what they were thinking "let's build what the South Americans might have built and see if we can sail off to Polynesia".

I don't think they made it the full way through, as is suggested by this wiki article. Seems like they ran into a reef which certainl halted their plans.

Nonetheless, it did prove that journey between Polynesia and South America at the time was possible. The question of who arrived first is yet to be answered. There is continuous reserch to find an answer. A recent article quotes archelogist David Burley as stating that they may have found the birthplace of Polynesia (Mukuleka, east of Tonga). Did this imply that colonization in ths regard was an west to east movement (from Asia towards Pacific)? In another equally interesting study, scientists disputed the claim that Polynesians may have been the first to introduce chicken to South America.

If this blog post piques your interest, here are few things to check out.

* The original raft used by Thor Heyerdahl which is now housed in the Kon Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway.
* Kon Tiki, the book, by Thor Heyerdahl is a record of the journey
* And of course, Kon Tiki, the documentary directed by Heyerdahl himself.