Model of a Raft.
13th-15th c Pre-Columbian: Mesoamerican Pre-Columbian Industrial Arts
(5000 BCE - 1515 CE)
New York. American Museum of Natural History.
With his famous 1947 voyage on the raft, the Kon Tiki Thor Hyerdahl drifted with the currents from Peru to Polynesia. The Polynesians, who made their way by great canoes all the way to Hawaii, are known for their incredible feats of navigating by the stars, and it seems quite possible that contacts were made with the Americas. Polynesian legends exist that bear striking resemblances to those of the Americas, and the Incas are said to have been aware of voyages to Easter Island. On the left is the model of a balsa raft of the type that sailed the coastal waters in Ecuador and Peru, and quite possible went as far as Polynesia. Hyerdahl used balsa, a very buoyant wood, to construct his raft the Kon Tiki.
On the right is a Japanese Jomon period pottery vessel that has incised decoration and other features that are very close to the pot-sherds found in Valdivia Ecuador and which date from approximately the same time. Such similarities in the pottery linked with the strong possibility that early sailors were able to cross the Pacific ocean on the currents are very useful in arguing contact between the peoples of Asia and those of the Americas. In 1997 an ancient skeleton was unearthed in Washington State unlike those of native peoples, again argueing for outside contact.
PRE-COLUMBIAN | Model of a Raft. | c. 1200-1500 | Pre-Columbian: Mesoamerican | Pre-Columbian
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