For decades Thor Hyerdahl’s Rah and KonTiki Expeditions were decried by anthropologists as willful cultural appropriation, in the white man was attempting to prove the diffusion of knowledge through heroic means, a long range sea voyage into the unknown. But now it is no such thing if descendents of Polynesian mariners wish to engage in experimental archeology.
It has long been a no-brainer that the yam diffused from Micronesia to South America, yet this documentary still manages to verify ancient oral history and give the viewer a glimpse of one of the world’s most successful Stone Age technologies. The mixed race navigator commanding this voyage had the methods from one of the last of these pacific mariners. I recall, decades ago, seeing a documentary on this very subject in which the old navigator explained through the translator that he could sense the presence of distant and unseen islands in his testicles—that those organs acted as a kind of sonar sensor. One imagines that a jock strap would have ruined his compass.
Polynesian sailors were sought after around the world throughout the 1800s by sea captains of merchants, expeditionary ships and whaling ships, with one such man joining a fur trading expedition to the Rockies and giving his name to the Owyhee desert.
The second video on the Inca city of Machu Picchu is well done and also lacks some depth. But the photography and graphics are pleasing. The conclusion of the two films taken together is that there was obviously Polynesian contact with South America. Also, outside of this, I have read some genetic evidence suggesting that earlier contact from the Pacific with South America was made by more primitive seafarers.