Science: Westward Voyage

Anthropologists will put themselves to a lot of trouble to prove a pet theory. Last week, five Norwegians and a Swede were making plans to sail westward from Callao, Peru, on a seagoing raft. They were taking many of the same chances as their theoretical primitives: the raft was modeled after the balsas of the ancient Peruvians. They hoped to prove that the South Pacific islands had been visited—perhaps partly peopled—by civilized Indians from South America.

The leader of the expedition, Thor Heyerdahl, 32, had been to Tahiti in 1937 to finish a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!