Heyerdahl, Thor -
(born 1914): Norwegian explorer and amateur archeologist. He proposed that ancient seafarers from the Mediterranean brought cotton, beans, and the idea to build pyramids to central America. Heyerdahl supported his contention by building two ships made from papyrus reed, the Ra I and the Ra II, resembling those depicted in ancient Egypt and sailing them from the ancient Phoenician port of Safi, Morocco across the Atlantic, roughly along the path of the voyage of Columbus. In 1970, the Ra II made landfall in Barbados after a 3,300 mile voyage that took 57 days. By comparison, Columbus's first voyage from Las Palmas, Spain to the Bahamas took 36 days.