• Galápagos
  • (1953)

Thor Heyerdahl organized and led an archaeological expedition to the Galápagos Islands in 1953, accompanied by the two archaeologists, Erik K. Reed and Arne Skjølsvold.

This was the first archaeological work ever done on the archipelago.

Heyerdahl and his colleagues claimed that people from South America had been visiting the Galápagos – long before Christopher Columbus reached the Americas.

The archaeologists found an Inca flute and shards from more than 130 pottery objects, which were later identified as pre-Inca, which supported their theory.

The research team concluded that there had never been a permanent settlement on the archipelago because drinking water is only available in the rainy season.

Back in Ecuador, Heyerdahl and his colleagues, conducted experiments on an Inca navigational instrument: the guara, a centerboard. They proved that the rafts using the guara could alter course and sail against the wind. For Heyerdahl, this confirmed his theory that Pre-Columbian peoples could not only sail across the Pacific Ocean – they could also return home again.

Poster by Leif Henstad for Galapagos (1955).

In 1955, Thor Heyerdahl made a documentary film about the Galápagos expedition with help from the zoologist and film producer Per Høst. The music for the film was composed by Sune Waldimir.

Heyerdahl’s Expeditions