In what promises to be a handsomely illustrated work, explorer Heyerdahl continues to build a case for his long-held...

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EASTER ISLAND: The Mystery Solved

In what promises to be a handsomely illustrated work, explorer Heyerdahl continues to build a case for his long-held conviction that transoceanic travelers spread ancient cultures around the world. Here, the wayfaring Norwegian (now 75) focuses on Easter Island. Best known for its monumental statuary, the remote southeastern Pacific outpost has down through the ages been something of a global hub for stone figures of all sizes (surveyed by the author in 1975's The Art of Easter Island). Now, Heyerdahl (whose theories are not accepted as gospel in all archaeological quarters) argues that oral histories already on record supply satisfactory answers to any lingering questions about Easter Island's past. By these accounts, light-skinned settlers from the Americas came first and carved the great heads prior to the arrival of Polynesians. Equally beguiling is the proposed solution to the puzzle of how monoliths weighing many tons were put in place; a Czech member of Heyerdahl's 1986 expedition demonstrated they could have been manhandled into position via long-buried roadways. While the comparatively brief text may be short on conclusive scholarly proof, it provides an accessible overview on an ever-fascinating locale; on the evidence of the prepublication sample, moreover, the 300-odd photographs (virtually all in color) are stunning.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 1989

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1989