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Bones Taken From Easter Island to Be Returned

Explorer Thor Heyerdahl took them from the island in the '50s
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2019 10:48 AM CDT
   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Thor Heyerdahl's most famous feat didn't involve Easter Island: The Norwegian explorer is best known for sailing more than 3,700 miles from Peru to Polynesia on a reed raft dubbed the Kon-Tiki. But just shy of a decade after that 1947 journey—an attempt to prove people from South America could have theoretically settled Polynesian islands—he led what the BBC calls the "first coordinated excavations" on Easter Island, bringing thousands of artifacts home with him. Now, those carved pieces and human bones will be returned to Chile.

The AFP quotes Heyerdahl's son as saying the repatriation is the realization of a promise his father made to return the objects, which had been held in Oslo's Kon-Tiki museum, "after they had been analyzed and published." The elder Heyerdahl died in 2002. They're not all Chile wants back: It's seeking the return of the Hoa Hakananai, described by the AFP as "one of the most spiritually important of the island's moai." The statue was taken from the island in 1868 and given to Queen Victoria; it resides in the British Museum. (Read more Easter Island stories.)

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