Aku-Aku: The Secret of Easter Island

By: Heyerdahl, Thor

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Book Condition: Good

Faint toning. 1971 Mass Market Paperback. We have more books available by this author!. Includes 62 full-color photographs. Aku-Aku, the Secret of Easter Island is a 1958 book by Thor Heyerdahl, describing his research at Rano Raraku and Anakena on the many giant stone statues or moai found of Easter Island. The book and a follow-up film of the same name made a major contribution to awareness, outside the anthropological and archaeological communities, of both the island and the statues. However much of his evidence has now been refuted by archaeologists, and his methods have been heavily criticised. For example: Paul Bahn wrote: 'he relied on the selective use of evidence, which resulted in a misleading conclusion'. Heyerdahl is most controversially associated with an attempt to revive the theory that the islanders stone carving technology came from South America. He argued that as well as being settled by Polynesians, Easter Island was settled by people from Peru in South America (an area he described as being 'more culturally developed'). 'Aku-aku' can refer to moving a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a 'walking' fashion. Heyerdahl theorised that the Moai (statues) of Easter Island were moved in this fashion, and tested this on a small Moai, however the test was quickly abandoned after the Moai's base was damaged. In the book, Heyerdahl further asserts that, for the islanders, Aku Aku also means a personal spiritual guide. Near the end of the book, Heyerdahl elucidates on a conversation with his own aku-aku. Heyerdahl compared the highest quality stonework on the island to pre-Columbian Amerindian stonework such as at Tihuanaco. Seemingly unaware of Polynesian stoneworking traditions such as the Marae he said of Ahu Vinapu's retaining wall 'No Polynesian fisherman would have been capable of conceiving, much less building such a wall'. However Alfred Metraux had already pointed out that the rubble filled Rapanui walls were a fundamentally different design to those of the Inca. Heyerdahl claimed a South American origin for a number of Easter Island plants including; The Totora reeds in the the islands three crater lakes which are now recognised as a separate species to the ones in Lake Titicaca; Also the Sweet Potato, which is now reckoned to have been in Polynesia before Easter Island was settled.

Title: Aku-Aku: The Secret of Easter Island

Author: Heyerdahl, Thor

Categories: Travel, History, Adventure, Anthropology,

Publisher: New York, Pocket Books: 1971

ISBN Number: 0671771396

ISBN Number 13: 9780671771393

Binding: Mass Market Paperback

Book Condition: Good

Seller ID: 2302375