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Norway to Return Easter Island Artifacts

Friday, March 29, 2019

Thor Heyerdahl ArtifactsSANTIAGO, CHILE—Norway will return thousands of artifacts taken from Chile’s Easter Island during a 1955–1956 expedition led by famed explorer Thor Heyerdahl, according to a report from BBC News. The artifacts include carved items and human bones. Heyerdahl is renowned for having sailed Kon-Tiki, a small raft made of balsawood, some 3,700 miles from Peru to Polynesia in 1947. His aim was to show that the islands could have been reached by ancient sailors. Genetic tests have since established that they were settled by people whose ancestors lived in Southeast Asia. Heyerdahl’s later expeditions included the 1955–1956 journey to Easter Island and a return to the island from 1986 to 1988. The explorer died in 2002 at the age of 87. The agreement with Chile's culture ministry to return the artifacts was signed at the National Library in Santiago by Heyerdahl’s son, Thor Heyerdahl Jr., on behalf of Oslo’s Kon-Tiki Museum. To read about what may have caused Easter Island’s population to collapse, go to “World Roundup: Chile.”

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