30 years passed since Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition to Azerbaijan

30 years passed since Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition to Azerbaijan
# 27 October 2011 13:30 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Sevil Zeynalgizi – APA. A scientific conference entitled “Thor Heyerdarhl and Azerbaijan” has been held at the Western University of Baku on Thursday. The conference was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of famous Norwegian ethnographer and traveler Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition to Azerbaijan. In his address to the conference Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan Huseyn Bagirov spoke about the Heyerdahl’s expedition to Azerbaijan and specially his travel to the country’s Sheki region. Minister said Heyerdahl visited Azerbaijan several times and his last works were dedicated to the ancient relations between the Caucasus and Scandinavia.

Azeri version of Heyerdahl’s book “In the Footsteps of Adam: A Memoir” was presented at the event. Western University’s Honorary Diploma awarded to the famous traveler was presented to his son, chairman of Kon-Tiki Museum Thor Heyerdahl Jr.
Heyerdahl made four visits to Azerbaijan 1982, 1994, 1999 and 2000. Heyerdahl had long been fascinated with the rock carvings that date back to about 10,000 B.C. at Gobustan (about 30 miles west of Baku). He was convinced that their artistic style closely resembles the carvings found in his native Norway. The ship designs, in particular, were regarded by Heyerdahl as similar and drawn with a simple sickle–shaped lines, representing the base of the boat, with vertical lines on deck, illustrating crew or, perhaps, raised oars.
Based on this and other published documentation, Heyerdahl proposed that Azerbaijan was the site of an ancient advanced civilization. He believed natives migrated north through waterways to present-day Scandinavia using ingeniously constructed vessels made of skins that could be folded like cloth. When voyagers traveled upstream, they conveniently folded their skin boats and transported them via pack animals.
On Heyerdahl’s visit to Baku in 1999, he lectured at the Academy of Sciences about the history of ancient Nordic Kings. He spoke of a notation made by Snorri, a 13th-century historian, which reads: "Odin (a Scandinavian god who was one of the kings) came to the North with his people from a country called Aser."[20] Heyerdahl claimed that the geographic location of Aser matched the region of contemporary Azerbaijan - "east of the Caucasus mountains and the Black Sea". "We are no longer talking about mythology," Heyerdahl said, "but of the realities of geography and history. Azerbaijanis should be proud of their ancient culture. It is just as rich and ancient as that of China and Mesopotamia."
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