Photo. Statue of Thor Heyerdahl shaped as the stone statues he found on Easter Island. © Travel Explorations.
Thor Heyerdahl, was a Norwegian anthropologist and adventurer who won acclaim navigating the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans to advance his controversial theories of ancient seafaring migrations.
Water has always been important in Larvik, ever since the times when the Vikings sailed in to build Norway’s first town at Kaupang and Colin Archer shaped the boats of the future to make polar exploration a reality. Larvik is also the birthplace of explorer Thor Heyerdahl, famous for his Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947.
In Larvik we visited both the monument of Thor Heyerdahl and his childhood home. Thor Heyerdahl was a scientist and explorer, and became world famous for his expeditions with Kon-Tiki, Ra and Tigris. Heyerdahl grew up in Steingata 7 and from his room he had an inspiring view to the sea. In 2007, five years after Thor Heyerdahl passed away, Larvik city council bought his family home. Larvik city council made Thor Heyerdahl honorary citizen of the town Larvik in 1971, and for his 75th birthday a monument of stone specie "Larvikite", was made. You can view the statue at idyllic Tollerodden (source: VisitVestfold).
Watch photos from the Thor Heyerdahl`s childhood home and monument of him on our Facebook page Travel Explorations.
The statue of Thor Heyerdahl on Tollerodden in Larvik give several association about his life and experiences. The round pillars should imagine Kon-Tiki raft, the undulating shape of the sea, and on top stands Thor Heyerdahl as a statue like the stone statues he found on Easter Island. He does not look at the ocean as we might think, but towards land just as the statues on Easter Island are doing.
Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002) was an archaeologist, an author and an adventurer. He is regarded the most famous person ever to come from Larvik. Already as a youngster he was interested in nature, animals and science. He developed a passion for Polynesia when he got in touch with a friend in Oslo, who had lots of literature on this Pacific island.
He studied zoology at the university of Oslo, but he also took major interest in related subjects like biology and anthropology and other topics that had to do with the Pacific region.
New research supports Thor Heyerdahl's theory on South Americans in the Pacific
To put his life in a bigger perspective: In 1947, Thor Heyerdahl sailed from Peru on a raft built of balsa wood called Kon-Tiki. He wanted to prove that the people of Polynesia may have come from South America. Thor Heyerdahl could neither sail nor swim when he embarked on an 8000 km long voyage across the Pacific Ocean in a raft of built of balsa wood. 101 days later he is washed up on a Polynesian island.
Thor Heyerdahl was a genuine adventurer who risked his life to prove his theories. Actually he considered himself more as a scientist than an adventurer. As mentioned, he was a writer, self-taught archaeologist and environmental activist. Even his expeditions made headlines and made him world famous, his theories were never taken very seriously by established science.
It was Thor Heyerdahl mother's belief in Charles Darwin's theory of evolution that inspired his interest in zoology and anthropology, an interest that drove him on expeditions that many considered as insane. He carried out his expeditions, gaining enormous attention, but it was first and foremost for his courage and his ability to carry it out, not for his scientific theories.
Thor Heyerdahl held on to his theories until his death in 2002. He experienced massive opposition but defended his theories until his death. It`s pity that he never got to know what we knew today. Now, over 70 years after Thor Heyerdahl`s men set out on the open Pacific in the Kon-Tiki, an international group of researchers has made discoveries that provide clear signs that South American indigenous peoples had contact with Polynesia, and it was long before Europeans first saw the white beaches of the islands (source: Sciencenorway.no, Friday 10th July 2020).
Maybe Thor Heyerdahl got wrong in one case. The origin of overseas contact in the past was not from Peru, but from areas further north. Supported by the new DNA study, researchers believe today that the contact was from Ecuador and Colombia, and here there are forests suitable for boat building. Finally did Thor Heyerdahl got the complete recognition he deserved! A trulely inspirational source for all in the world!
Stein Morten Lund, 4th August 2020
Some interesting articles about Thor Heyerdahl:
Thor Heyerdahl, Anthropologist and Adventurer, Is Dead at 87
New research supports Thor Heyerdahl's theory on South Americans in the Pacific (source: Sciencenorway.no brings you science news from Norway. This is the English version of forskning.no, Norway’s independent, online newspaper on science.