National Geographic : 1993 Jul
asked where I spent my first five years. When I told him, he remarked, "That will do it-the Ogallalais a natural source of fluoride." KEN GROOM Kent, Washington Easter Island Unveiled The undersigned feel that your article on Easter Island will injure and scandalize Thor Heyerdahl. Concerning the so-called secret family caves, it asserts that Dr. Heyerdahl persuaded the natives to open the caves and sell the contents. The fact is that the natives themselves told him about the caves and offered to sell Heyerdahl the stone carv ings. To the extent that these caves and their con tents were forgeries, the natives themselves are to be blamed, not Heyerdahl. The article also refers to Heyerdahl's "gullibil ity" concerning the carvings, but it was hard even for trained archaeologists who accompanied him to ascertain what was genuine and what was not. When it comes to the question of South Ameri can influence on Easter Island culture, the answer is hardly as unambiguous as the author puts it. Only continued and objective archaeological research can give the answer. PROFESSOR ARNE SKJ0LSVOLD, DR. PHILOS. DIRECTOR 0YSTEIN KOCK JOHANSEN, DR. PHILOS. The Kon-Tiki Museum Oslo, Norway Dr. Skj0lsvold was one of the archaeologistson Thor Heyerdahl's 1955-56 expedition. Since then, he has returned repeatedly to Easter Island, con ducting archaeologicalfieldwork. Dr. Johansen has also been partof the archaeologicalteam. Thor Heyerdahl's theories as to American Indians in the Pacific may be wrong, but it takes more than a swashbuckler to cross part of the Pacific on a balsa raft or the Atlantic on a reed boat. F. J. BUZEK Rhoon, Netherlands The article did not deal with rongo rongo boards, the wooden tablets covered with hieroglyphic signs, reportedly the only known writing devel oped in Polynesia. These tablets as a cultural achievement arguably overshadow even the moai. If the boards were not created by the forebears of the present islanders, then the door to Rapa Nui history still stays ajar. ORVO AST West Hill, Ontario There is little new information about these tablets, featuredin the January1962 Geographic. I write with regret to inform you that the venerable Amelia Tepano Ika (pages 70-71) died this past December. With her died a treasure of ethno graphic information. Those of us who study the complex history of these remarkable Polynesian not included.) hat naturally occur in any battery). They may not save the world, but it's a step in the right direction.