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| Words: 1329 | Submitted: 12-Jun-2011
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DescriptionThor Hyerdahl's anthropological quest to find out where the Polynesians came from
“Using Information derived from ‘Kon-Tiki’, debate the possibility of the Polynesian Islands being inhabited by people from the west coast of South America.”
Scientists have always assumed that the Polynesian islands were inhabited originally by Indians, sailing the relatively short distance from India to the nearest islands and progressing onwards from there all the way to Easter Island in the middle of the Pacific. In this essay I am going to try to explain Thor Heyerdahl’s theory that they were actually founded by prehistoric Incas from Peru and South America, using examples from his book “Kon-Tiki”, dividing it up into five main arguments; historical (including traditions and ways of life), physical, natural, geographical factors and Thor Heyerdahl’s journey across the pacific on a balsa raft.
Native traditions including the fact that every Polynesian had to be able to recite their leaders all the way back to their founder – Tiki – as well as the striking lack of archaeological evidence shows how they can only possibly have been first populated in the last fifteen thousand years. Also the fact that even though they live scattered over an area “four times the size of the whole of Europe” yet they haven’t developed different languages, but speak slightly different dialects of the same language that we call “Polynesian”, shows that they cannot have been around very long.
The furthest island away from mainland Asia, where scientists believed the Polynesians came from, is Easter Island which lies half way between Asia and South America. They assumed that because it was so far away, it would have been populated last. However, stone walls along with colossal statues of unknown origins are said to have come from an earlier people. If this is the case then how could such a supposedly “young” country have enough time to develop so much that it forgets an entire race altogether? This suggests that it was not the last of the Polynesian islands to be inhabited, but probably the first. This would mean that, either the Asian explorers went an incredibly long route around in a huge arc against the prevailing wind, in boats that were not capable of long-distance travel and stumbled across the islands from back to front, or that a group of people from South America stumbled across it first, following the prevailing winds and founded it before exploring further into the Pacific. To back this up, there are huge ruins which closely resemble pre-Inca remains, as well as excavations showing that the famous head statues are actually giant bodies that have been buried in the ground as time has gone by. This shows both that quite a lot of time must have gone by for ...
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