Mysteries of the Seven Site

Did A Castaway Live Here?

In answer to Question One, we have recovered a number of artifacts which appear to be “beachcombed” objects that were used as primitive tools. Both the colonists and the Coast Guard had ready access to good, conventional tools so the presence of crude expedient tools might indicate the presence of a castaway. It should be mentioned that all of the artifacts described below were found too far inland to have simply washed up there. (Please click on each small photograph to open a new window with a large photo of the artifact.)

26S21a Artifact 2-6-S-21a is a shard of broken glass which appears to be from the top of an old-fashioned glass ball fishnet float. No other piece of glass from the float was found. Whether by coincidence or design, the shard fits comfortably in the hand while presenting a very sharp cutting edge. The edge will be examined by an expert in ancient tools to determine whether there are indications that the surface has been used for cutting.

26S21b Artifact of 2-6-S-21b is a shard of broken glass which was apparently once part of a small hexagonal bottle. It was found immediately adjacent to Artifact 2-6-S-21a and no other similar piece of glass was found anywhere. This piece also can be held safely and used as a sharp tool. Its edge will also be examined for evidence of wear.

Artifact of 2-6-S-16 is a small piece of glass, found by itself and theoretically useful as a tool. The “point,” however, is quite dull. Perhaps expert examination can determine whether that is natural or the result of use. The photo at right shows the attention to detail necessary to do this type of field work — it would be extremely easy to miss something this small.

26S18 Artifact 2-6-S-18 is yet another piece of broken glass and, again, is unlike any other object found at the site. Only about 1 mm in thickness, this triangular plate of glass has one straight edge that was manufactured in a very specific beveled shape that changes across the length of the edge. The weight and thickness of the piece and the straight but complex beveled edge suggest that it may have once covered the rectangular face of an instrument of some kind. Unlike the glass of the artifacts described above, it is difficult to imagine this object as being part of something that floated ashore.

Artifact 2-6-S-12 is interesting because it is the only “chunky” ferrous object found at the site. There is badly rusted corrugated metal siding or roofing material and there are various rusted-to-pieces ferrous containers in the area, but the weight and condition of this artifact seems much more in character with the wreckage of the S.S. Norwich City at the other end of the island. Its shape suggests that it may have once been part of a circular iron cover or lid but this broken fragment has obvious potential utility as a prying tool.

Click on each topic to read our results and reasoning, and to see photographs of the artifacts recovered:

  1. Is there evidence at the site of the presence of a castaway?
  2. Does the site fit Gallagher's specific description of a fire, dead birds, and turtle?
  3. Does anything about the site explain the presence of what appear to be man-made trails in a 1938 aerial photo taken before the island was officially inhabited?
  4. Is a man-made hole at the site the place where a skull found by a work party was buried and later dug up by Gallagher?
  5. Are there human remains or diagnostic artifacts present at the site which make it possible to identify the castaway?
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