SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002), at right, Norwegian ethnographer and explorer, on the papyrus boat Ra with a fellow crew member. Heyerdahl used local materials to build rafts to test his theories that ancient peoples were able to cross the world's oceans. The Ra expedition of 1969 attempted to cross the Atlantic, but the raft sunk. A later expedition the following year succeeded in sailing the Ra II from Africa to Barbados. Heyerdahl's first and most famous expedition was in the Pacific in 1947, on the Kon-Tiki balsa wood raft.
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