In August,1947, Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl completed his 101-day journey approximately 4,300 miles across the Pacific from Peru to French Polynesia on a homemade raft built only with balsa logs and hemp rope — proving that ancient peoples could have made the same astonishing voyage.

Fascinated by the similarities between Indigenous South American and French Polynesian cultures, Heyerdahl theorized that long before anyone from the West had managed to contact the inhabitants of the islands in the South Pacific, seafarers from South America used primitive rafts to travel all the way there.

But despite Heyerdahl’s accomplishment, the scientific establishment remained unconvinced by his theory, though various versions of his ideas are widely accepted today.