In Kontiki's Wake

In Kontiki's Wake

The Archaeology of the Transoceanic Experiment

P.J. Capelotti


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It was the original Survivor series, only without the omnipresent cameras, paramedics, and faux tribal rituals. Between the spring of 1947 and the summer of the year 2006, more than forty expeditions sought to drift across the oceans of the world on rafts. These audacious voyages began with the legendary Kon-Tiki expedition, under the leadership of the renowned Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. The Kon-Tiki raft drifted more than four thousand miles from Peru to Polynesia, and remained afloat months after experts predicted it would sink to the bottom of the Pacific. Heyerdahl’s radical thesis of a prehistoric world where ancient mariners drifted between continents on ocean currents electrified the postwar world. His Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft sold twenty million copies in sixty-five languages.

In Kon-Tiki's Wake documents all of the transoceanic raft expeditions that were organized and carried out in the half century after Kon-Tiki. Spanning more than fifty years and recounting more than forty expeditions, In the wake of Kon-Tiki is a riveting chronicle of human daring, endurance, and folly.


P.J. Capelotti:

Historical archaeologist P.J. Capelotti, Professor of Anthropology at Penn State University, Abington College, is author or editor of more than a dozen non-fiction histories, including By Airship to the North Pole: an archaeology of human exploration (1999), Sea Drift: Rafting Adventures in the Wake of Kon-Tiki (2001), Life and Death on the Greenland Patrol (2005), The Whaling Expedition of the Ulysses (2010), and Shipwreck at Cape Flora: The expeditions of Benjamin Leigh Smith, England's forgotten explorer, (2013). His theory of archaeological research in space: The Human Archaeology of Space, was published in 2010 by McFarland. A volume of essays and poetry, Gods Meadow: a summer of poems on the edge of Oslo fjord, was published in 2005, and his first novel, Nautilus: a modern sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, has been described by Clive Cussler as "an amazing tale filled with enigmas filled with riddles and dark mysteries. Truly a fascinating read." Nautilus will appear under the pen name Pete Shaw.