News Focus

Beyond Kon-Tiki: Did Polynesians Sail to South America?

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Science  11 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5984, pp. 1344-1347
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5984.1344

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  • RE: Polynesians in Chile

    The Mapuche club mentioned by Ramirez is called a 'clava mere' in Mapuche and a 'mere' in most of Polynesia. The Mapuche funerary statues are enormous wooden statues wearing a topknot hat that is virtually identical in shape to that of the moai in Rapa nui. Moreover the thin gracile arms of these funerary statues resemble those of the moai, though of course there are only a few ways to carve hats and arms. The Mapuche lengthened their earlobes with heavy ornaments; could they have gone to Rapa? The Rapa nui talk of an elite called the 'long-ears' who started a civil war.

    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Separate Cases of South American-Polynesian Contact

    A. Lawler's News Focus ("Beyond Kon-Tiki: Did Polynesians sail to South America?", 11 June 2010, p. 1344) misunderstands its topic from the perspective of Pacific archaeology. The idea that Polynesians may have reached South America has been the orthodox and consensual position of Pacific archaeology for many decades and the Heyerdahl hypothesis, far from inducing a taboo on the topic, stimulated more discussion, mostly favorin...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.