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Book Title: Aku Aku: The Secret of Easter Island|
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The author of the book: Thor Heyerdahl
Edition: Penguin Books Limited
Date of issue: 1960
ISBN: No data
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.48 MB
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Aku-Aku, the Secret of Easter Island describes Thor Heyerdahl's research at Rano Raraku & Anakena on their many giant stone statues. The book & later film made a major contribution to awareness, outside anthropological & archeological communities, of both the island & the statues. Much of his evidence has now been refuted by archeologists. His methods have been criticised. Paul Bahn wrote: "he relied on the selective use of evidence, which resulted in a misleading conclusion".
Heyerdahl is most controversially associated with an attempt to revive the theory that the islanders' stone carving technology came from S. America. He argued that as well as being settled by Polynesians, Easter Island was settled by people from Peru, an area described as "more culturally developed".
"Aku-aku" refers to moving a tall, flat bottomed object by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a walking fashion. Heyerdahl theorised the Easter Island Moai (statues) were moved in this fashion, & tested this on a small Moai--tho the test was abandoned after the Moai's base was damaged. He also asserts that for the islanders, Aku Aku means a "spiritual guide."
Heyerdahl compared the highest quality stonework on the island to pre-Columbian Amerindian stonework such as at Tihuanaco. Seemingly unaware of Polynesian stoneworking traditions such as the Marae he said of Ahu Vinapu's retaining wall "No Polynesian fisherman would have been capable of conceiving, much less building such a wall". However Alfred Metraux had already pointed out that the rubble filled Rapanui walls were of a fundamentally different design to those of the Inca.
Heyerdahl claimed a S. American origin for some Easter Island plants including the Totora reeds in the islands' three crater lakes which are now recognised as a separate species to the ones in Lake Titicaca. Also the Sweet Potato, which is now reckoned to have been in Polynesia before Easter Island was settled.
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Read information about the authorSee also ثور هايردال.
Thor Heyerdahl (October 6, 1914, Larvik, Norway – April 18, 2002, Colla Micheri, Italy) was a Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer with a scientific background in zoology and geography. Heyerdahl became notable for his Kon-Tiki expedition, in which he sailed 4,300 miles (8,000 km) by raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands. All his legendary expeditions are shown in the Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo.
Thor Heyerdahl was born in Larvik, the son of master brewer Thor Heyerdahl and his wife Alison Lyng. As a young child, Thor Heyerdahl showed a strong interest in zoology. He created a small museum in his childhood home, with a Vipera berus as the main attraction. He studied Zoology and Geography at University of Oslo. At the same time, he privately studied Polynesian culture and history, consulting what was then the world's largest private collection of books and papers on Polynesia, owned by Bjarne Kropelien, a wealthy wine merchant in Oslo. This collection was later purchased by the University of Oslo Library from Kropelien's heirs and was attached to the Kon-Tiki Museum research department. After seven terms and consultations with experts in Berlin, a project was developed and sponsored by his zoology professors, Kristine Bonnevie and Hjalmar Broch. He was to visit some isolated Pacific island groups and study how the local animals had found their way there. Just before sailing together to the Marquesas Islands in 1936, he married his first wife, Liv Coucheron-Torp (b. 1916), whom he had met shortly before enrolling at the University, and who had studied economics there. Though she is conspicuously absent from many of his papers and talks, Liv participated in nearly all of Thor's journeys, with the exception of the Kon-Tiki Expedition. The couple had two sons; Thor Jr and Bjørn. The marriage ended in divorce and in 1949 Thor Heyerdahl married Yvonne Dedekam-Simonsen. They in turn had three daughters; Annette, Marian and Helene Elisabeth. This marriage also ended in divorce, in 1969. In 1991 Thor Heyerdahl married for the third time, to Jacqueline Beer (b. 1932).
Thor Heyerdahl's grandson, Olav Heyerdahl, retraced his grandfather's Kon-Tiki voyage in 2006, as part of a six-member crew. The voyage, called the Tangaroa Expedition, was intended as a tribute to Thor Heyerdahl, as well as a means to monitor the Pacific Ocean's environment. A film about the voyage is in preparation.
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