The Norwegian Museum Kon-Tiki has committed to return the entirety of a collection of archaeological pieces and photographs of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), which were taken in the mid-twentieth century by the explorer Thor Heyerdahl, sources informed the Chilean Government today .
The commitment was signed by Martin Biehl, director of the Norwegian museum, who arrived in Santiago on Monday to meet with the Minister of National Assets, Felipe Ward, to whom he expressed the decision to return the pieces to the island.
Biehl, accompanied by a group of experts from his museum, went today to the island territory, located in the Pacific, about 3,700 kilometers from the Chilean coast, in order to know live the town and the culture of the place, famous for the moais and other ancestral expressions.
"The Norwegian delegation was very grateful for the opportunity to get to know such an interesting culture and promised to return the pieces soon," the Ministry of National Assets said in a statement.
Among the members of the delegation is Thor Heyerdahl, grandson of the explorer of the same name, and during his stay in Rapa Nui, the group will agree with the local community on the date and manner in which the return will be made.
The Norwegian museum exhibits carved artifacts, human remains, photographs and other archaeological pieces of the Rapa Nui community, a town that inhabits the island at least since the 13th century.
The collection was compiled by the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl in the fifties of the last century, when he became famous for the Kon-tiki expedition, which sailed 8,000 kilometers through the Pacific, from the South American coast to the Tuamotu archipelago, on a raft built with trunks, plants and natural materials from South America.
"We are happy for the Rapa Nui people, to hear that there are international institutions that seek to return what they once took from the island for research purposes," said Minister Ward, who will soon travel to London for the case of a moai who exhibits at the British Museum.
The Chilean Government and the community of Rapa Nui seek the return of the Moai Hoa Hakananai'a, stolen from the island in 1868.
Felipe Ward hopes that the reintegration of the pieces from Norway "feels a precedent before our next visit to London", where they will seek to "sensitize the authorities of the importance for the rapa Nui community of the return of the Moai Hoa Hakananai'a" , he said.