Thor Heyerdahl discoverer of the Pyramids of Güimar

Tenerife has a special meaning to the work and investigations of the Norwegian discoverer and investigator Thor Heyerdahl. The investigation of the Pyramids of Güimar was probably the last big project in the life of Thor Heyerdahl. For him, Tenerife was a interesting place to learn about the culture exchange of the Atlantic areas.

Explorer and world traveller:

Thor Heyerdahl was born and raised in Norway and studied geography, zoology and got also educated in anthropology. He didn't just use the literature knowledge to achieve new scientific findings but also the practical work and discovering to prove his assumptions and hypotheses. Due to his maritime traveling he reached international attention and recognition.
Very popular are his expeditions to Central America and South America as well as to the Easter Island. Heyerdahl was very eager to try out new things. He crossed the ocean several times successfully with a raft and a ship made of the wood of the balsa tree or reed. The name of the raft and the ship are Kon-Tiki and Ra 2. To build them he used submittals he found in the cultures of the antique Egypt and the early Colombia.


Thor Heyerdahl assumed that Polynesia got settled by people from South America due to cultural conformity between groups in South America and North-West America as well as Polynesia. There were similarities of e.g. fishing gears, tools, musical instruments, etc. He also tried to proof his theory with the similarities of stone sculptures and legends. He corroborates this belief due to a maritime expedition: He used the Philippines stream (also called Japanese stream) and the trade winds to sail from Northwest-America to Polynesia.
Based on the same theory (ocean drifts and the trade winds), he did other expeditions and proofed possible routes from Southeast Asia to Polynesia (similarities in their culture), between South America and the Galapagos Islands (similarities in their culture) and between South America and the Easter Island (similarities in their culture).
On Tenerife Thor Heyerdahl organised a Spanish-Norwegian archaeological research project to investigate the step pyramids in Güimar. He believed in a connection between the construction of the pyramids and cultural influences from South America before the Spanish conquerors arrived on Tenerife.

The accomplishment of Heyerdahl:

Nowadays Thor Heyerdahls theory about the connection of different cultures due to impressive maritime routes is very popular. He proofed that is was possible to cross the oceans with rafts made of the Balsa tree and ships made of reed. The ability and skills to build this kind of boats was already known in the past e.g. the Egypt Pharaohs or the pre- Columbian eras. Because of this, Heyerdahl assumed and justified his theory of intercultural influences more than 1000s of years ago.
Furthermore the investigations of Thor Heyerdahl tell about the high level of development of the nautical, mathematical and constructive knowledge and skills of the people in the long gone past. Due to the innovative expeditions and research-equipment Thor Heyerdahl got honoured several times.

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