August 28, 2001
Any sign of prehistoric occupation or use of the islands? Charcoal, fire-cracked rocks, worked stone, polished bone, remnants of tule or balsa canoes?
I love your slide shows, especially photos of the crew.
A Portland, Oregon fan
Thanks very much for your question and for following Dive and Discover’s Galápagos Expedition. Denny Geist, one of the co-chief scientists and an expert in Galápagos geology and volcanoes provided this reply to your question.
There is no evidence of any prehistoric habitation or visits to the Galápagos archipelago. The first archaelogical survey that I know of was done by Thor Heyerdahl back in the early 1950s. You may know that Heyerdahl is most famous for his work on the Polynesian artifacts on Easter Island and of ‘Kon Tiki’ and ‘Ra’ fame. Although nothing prehistoric was found, he did find lots of evidence for early buccaneers. In fact, we know the age of a lava flow on Santiago because it contains jars of quince (a fruit) marmalade: the lava flow ran over a pirate’s stash.
I’m not an archaeologist, but I would guess that the chance of survival in the Galápagos would be very small if a human arrived here accidentally because of the harsh conditions. In particular, there is only one permanent source of water, on San Cristobal Island, and it is very far from the coast.
Thanks for the great question and we hope you keep following our expedition.
Sincerely, Dan Fornari and Denny Geist
Hi! My name is Nellie Kurz and I live in Falmouth, MA. I'm wondering what the crew and the scientists on this cruise do during their free time?
Hi Nellie- when the scientists are not standing their watches they are usually helping out with the other work on board, interpreting the sonar data we are collecting, and getting ready for our sampling program that will start in a few days. Crew and scientists also read books, watch video movies, watch for whales and porpoises, fish and play cards. They also sleep in between their watches so they don't get too tired. Some of the students have been also helping with the Dive and Discover web site by taking lots of photos and helping to put together the daily journal slide shows.
I hope you like the site and that it helps you keep tabs on your dad, our Chief Scientist. Check out the great photos of him in the slide show and interview.
All the best, Dan
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