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Author Topic: Seven Site  (Read 160576 times)

Dan Kelly

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #135 on: November 24, 2012, 03:30:52 AM »

Quote
“We have searched carefully for rings, money and keys with no result.” I don’t think Gallagher was using the Royal We.


Your not British then are you?

Mr Johnson I think that is not a helpful answer to an interesting post. To me, and I'm quite new to this, Mr Kada has asked some interesting questions.
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Dan Kelly

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #136 on: November 24, 2012, 03:56:55 AM »

We (I) as British quite often use the term we for I as its part the way we speak so 'buddy' it was a possibly poorley phrased by me example of how Gallagher may have phrased something.

Mr Kelly feel free to PM me for english lessons  ;D starting with how to pronounce the word 'Norwich'

Oh I do know to pronounce Norwich City, it's R.U.S.T.Y P.I.L.E O.F W.R.E.C.K.A.G.E  ;D
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Joe Cerniglia

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #137 on: November 24, 2012, 05:07:49 AM »

The fact that Gallagher and company did not see much of the glass opens the door to the possibility it was too small to be seen, suggesting in turn that perhaps its condition as fragments represents an attempt by the castaway(s) to use it, not for skin protection, or freckle removal, or what have you, but for survival: One needs water; there isn't any; devise a plan for getting it and keeping it when it rains.

I'm sorry if I'm dense here (not the first time), could you clarify or expand on the point you are making?  Are you saying the use of small bottles for water collection might have resulted in breaking them into fragments?
Assuming one or another broken bottle belonged to the castaway(s), I'm saying that a most urgent need for water collection could have resulted in the castaway(s)' breaking one or another (the Campana is a likely candidate) in such a way as to be a "scoop" for getting water out of tree bolls and large concave leaves on the ground. Check back at Gallagher's diary entry I linked and you'll see a genuine preoccupation with weather and rainfall amounts.  Gallagher was not an amateur meteorologist passing the time. Water is the main concern on Nikumaroro for survival.

Joe Cerniglia
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« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 03:09:31 PM by Joe Cerniglia »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #138 on: November 24, 2012, 07:05:51 AM »

I think it's safe to assume that the rain that falls on Nikumaroro is safe to drink.  "Catchment water" collected in cisterns was the primary source of drinking water for both the colonists and the Coasties.  It still is in many Pacific island communities. A castaway, of course, has no proper cistern and must improvise some way to catch and collect rain water.  We see possible evidence of this at the Seven Site in the way clam shells were found grouped together and apparently intentionally laid out concave-side up. See photo.  The few places where puddles form naturally on Niku are prone to fouling from birds, crabs and rats.  We could certainly collect some and have it tested but I sure as heck wouldn't test it by drinking it.

The real question, of course, is not whether the water the castaway collected was safe to drink but whether she thought it was safe to drink. For all the talk of Amelia Earhart being a Kansas country girl, the fact is that she was very much an urban creature. One anecdotal story is that she wouldn't eat the cone of an ice cream cone because her fingers had touched it. Boiling drinking water collected from clam shells, tree bolls, and puddles seems very much in character.
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Jeff Palshook

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #139 on: November 24, 2012, 07:56:56 AM »

Ric, In your latest reply, #167, you appear to be engaging in the same speculation without documentation that you so decry in TIGHAR's detractors.  You used phrases "whether she thought", "one anecdotal story", and "seems very much in character".  An anecdotal story is just that -- anecdotal.  It does not have solid documentation to back it up.  As you have pointed out many times,  we simply don't know what "she thought" during her time on Niku, if she was ever there.  We simply don't know what would have been "very much in character" for her as she tried to survive there on Niku.

So why don't you apply the same standards to your own posts in this regard as you seem to demand of others?

Jeff P.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #140 on: November 24, 2012, 08:42:45 AM »

Ric, In your latest reply, #167, you appear to be engaging in the same speculation without documentation that you so decry in TIGHAR's detractors.  You used phrases "whether she thought", "one anecdotal story", and "seems very much in character".  An anecdotal story is just that -- anecdotal.  It does not have solid documentation to back it up.  As you have pointed out many times,  we simply don't know what "she thought" during her time on Niku, if she was ever there.  We simply don't know what would have been "very much in character" for her as she tried to survive there on Niku.

So why don't you apply the same standards to your own posts in this regard as you seem to demand of others?

I think I do. We all speculate.  It's a necessary part of the investigative process.  What I try not to do, and what I decry in TIGHAR detractors, is draw hard conclusions from speculation.  I wrote, "The real question, of course, is not whether the water the castaway collected was safe to drink but whether she thought it was safe to drink."    We know there was a castaway. We know the castaway had to have water to survive. The presence of part of a woman's shoe in 1940, the modern assessment of the bone measurements as probably being from a female, and the presence of female-specific artifacts at the site tip the scales strongly toward the castaway being female but, you're right.   I should have said "he or she thought it was safe to drink.

My comment about the anecdotal story is pure speculation but I didn't present it as anything but that.  I did not, for example, say that Earhart WOULD NOT eat the cone of an ice cream cone and I did not say that boiling drinking water WOULD BE very much in character.  I was careful to say that the ice cream cone story was anecdotal and that boiling drinking water SEEMS very much in character.  Qualifiers are important.

You're right that we cannot know what "she thought" but I didn't say we could.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 08:46:12 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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Jon Romig

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #141 on: November 24, 2012, 08:32:32 PM »

The real question, of course, is not whether the water the castaway collected was safe to drink but whether she thought it was safe to drink. For all the talk of Amelia Earhart being a Kansas country girl, the fact is that she was very much an urban creature. One anecdotal story is that she wouldn't eat the cone of an ice cream cone because her fingers had touched it. Boiling drinking water collected from clam shells, tree bolls, and puddles seems very much in character.

I agree that the castaway's attitude towards consuming untreated water is the far more important issue, however I do think that there is some value in knowing if the untreated water was safe to drink. It is quite possible that at some point the castaway was forced to consume untreated water, or was exposed to it accidentally.

Most of us believe that the castaway did die at the Seven Site, probably due to some condition or combination of conditions on Niku. A gradual loss of capacity due to water-born illness could have resulted in different behavior and thus discoverable evidence than what would have remained after a "sudden" loss of life due to, for example, eating a poisonous fish. In the first case, gradual loss of capacity could have allowed time to plan and execute the creation of an enduring record. In the second, the castaway may very well have developed such confidence of survival so as to not leave a deliberate record, which is consistent with what has been discovered to date.

If the bones were discovered at the cook site (which appears to be the case) rather then at a possible sleeping/living site some distance away, then a sudden loss of life is a somewhat more likely scenario (as a slow death tends to occur in "bed."), with all that implies.

We will likely only ever have hints and guesses about the cause of death, but knowing a bit more about conditions and threats in the environment may eventually help inform the search.

Jon Romig
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Joe Cerniglia

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #142 on: November 25, 2012, 06:23:10 AM »

The real question, of course, is not whether the water the castaway collected was safe to drink but whether she thought it was safe to drink. For all the talk of Amelia Earhart being a Kansas country girl, the fact is that she was very much an urban creature. One anecdotal story is that she wouldn't eat the cone of an ice cream cone because her fingers had touched it. Boiling drinking water collected from clam shells, tree bolls, and puddles seems very much in character.

I agree that the castaway's attitude towards consuming untreated water is the far more important issue, however I do think that there is some value in knowing if the untreated water was safe to drink. It is quite possible that at some point the castaway was forced to consume untreated water, or was exposed to it accidentally.
A physician on the EPAC, remarking on the quality of water for drinking on Nikumaroro (email 12/21/10), said:
"Iodine or boiling will kill the living organisms, such as bacteria and parasites.  I doubt that there would be any organic or inorganic toxins there in a concentration that would be significant." He goes on to say the water would not taste good but would probably not be fatal to drink.

For what it may be worth, Norwich City second officer Henry C. Lott described boiling water from a fresh pool (runoff from rainfall, I would guess) for drinking:

"Lott describes finding a pool of fresh water. This was collected and stored in small tanks recovered from the lifeboats (Hamer’s recollections), and boiled before use."

Most of us believe that the castaway did die at the Seven Site, probably due to some condition or combination of conditions on Niku. A gradual loss of capacity due to water-born illness could have resulted in different behavior and thus discoverable evidence than what would have remained after a "sudden" loss of life due to, for example, eating a poisonous fish. In the first case, gradual loss of capacity could have allowed time to plan and execute the creation of an enduring record. In the second, the castaway may very well have developed such confidence of survival so as to not leave a deliberate record, which is consistent with what has been discovered to date.

If the bones were discovered at the cook site (which appears to be the case) rather then at a possible sleeping/living site some distance away, then a sudden loss of life is a somewhat more likely scenario (as a slow death tends to occur in "bed."), with all that implies.

We will likely only ever have hints and guesses about the cause of death, but knowing a bit more about conditions and threats in the environment may eventually help inform the search.

Jon Romig
My personal take is that a castaway might, if able, want to attempt to remove him or herself to a location more visible by a passing ship from the shoreline in the event loss of mobility seemed imminent.  This could be one possible reason to account for the Gallagher crew searching near the bones and missing items that TIGHAR later found, but such an occurrence is hardly necessary to explain the divergence.  On the other hand, the shoreline, less shaded, as I take it, from direct sun, might not be the most hospitable place to wait for rescue.  In any case I know of no way to verify or disverify my speculations, which is all that they are.

Joe Cerniglia
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« Last Edit: November 25, 2012, 06:45:31 AM by Joe Cerniglia »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #143 on: November 25, 2012, 09:15:40 AM »

John Kada, discussing the bottles found at the Seven site states "...but the coasties found two of them."
Is there any evidence that the bottles were already there?  I assume it is at least equally possible that the coasties brought the bottles with them.  They brought a weapon and ammo to the site - bringing something to shoot at makes sense to me.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
« Last Edit: November 25, 2012, 09:40:56 AM by John Ousterhout »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #144 on: November 25, 2012, 09:34:27 AM »

John Kada, discussing the bottles found at the Seven site states "...but the coasties found two of them."
Is there any evidence that the bottles were already there?  I assume it is at least equally possible that the coasties brought the bottles with them.

I think the Mennen bottle is a toss up as to whether it came with the castaway or with the Coasties.  That it contained a Mennen product seems likely given that the glass is embossed with the company name. Could be Baby Oil (used as sun tan lotion?). Could be Skin Bracer (Noonan's or a Coastie's?).
The likely origin of the other bottle really depends on whether it contained Campana Italian Balm or Skat or something else.  Joe's research strongly suggests Italian Balm.  Joe is also going to get a chemical analysis of Skat. 
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Jon Romig

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #145 on: November 26, 2012, 09:00:14 PM »

OK, back to where the castaway slept at the Seven Site...

I am under the impression that the crabs would make sleeping on the ground difficult if not impossible.

Would a fire(s) keep the crabs away? It would be lots of work, but maybe worth it. This maybe an explanation for the multiple fire sites. What spacing would exclude crabs? Are the fire sites in any sort of pattern?

It seems reasonable to assume that the castaway did not have/create a tent or other structure to exclude the crabs, although it might have been possible to create some kind of wooden stockade with a lot of work and probably tools.

The coconut crabs can climb trees, making sleeping in a tree crotch undesirable.

It seems unlikely but not impossible that she was able to make a hammock. The tie down ropes (if not lost) plus some fabric or even palm leaves might do it. This might be the best solution if the materials were available. It would have been tried first at Camp 0. if it existed, it was probably lost/scattered/destroyed in the logging.

Haven't I seen a reference to a small islet in the lagoon near the Seven Site? If it exists, would that not have been an ideal sleeping camp? Coconut crabs cannot swim. A good site to look for artifacts.

Jon Romig
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Jimmie Tyler

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #146 on: November 27, 2012, 11:25:18 AM »

 I have found an article on a cadaver dog, that would be a valued member of the Niku 8 expedition. This lab finds 250 year old bones, nearly 2 meters deep. With 100% accuracy..     http://www.news.com.au/national/this-dog-has-a-nose-for-archeology/story-fndo4ckr-1226463394595
Jim, TIGHAR #4064
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #147 on: November 27, 2012, 12:14:48 PM »

I am under the impression that the crabs would make sleeping on the ground difficult if not impossible.

Not impossible, but at least in our experience the crabs are definitely an issue to be dealt with. 

Would a fire(s) keep the crabs away? It would be lots of work, but maybe worth it. This maybe an explanation for the multiple fire sites. What spacing would exclude crabs? Are the fire sites in any sort of pattern?

There are not as many fire sites as we initially thought.  We were counting every occurrence of charcoal as a separate fire feature but many of those may represent nothing more than a burning stick that got separated from a larger fire.  Also, analysis shows that bird and fish bones from some fire sites are more in line with islander practices.  We currently have just two fire features that appear to be castaway-related.

The crabs do not seem to be intimidated by fire.  I should be clear that the crabs we're talking about are the little Strawberry Hermit crabs, not the big Coconut crabs (Birgus latro).  Everybody tends to focus on Birgus latro because he's big and scary looking but he's usually quite shy.  He'll defend himself if he feels threatened but I've never seen him behave in an aggressive manner.  The observed behavior of Strawberry Hermits in the abandoned village is similar to Coconut crabs - shy and retiring.  Strawberry Hermits at the Seven Site, oddly enough, are a different story.  They're bold and aggressive, scuttling out of the underbrush as soon as they sense (smell?) the presence of food.  Every time we broke for lunch they appeared by the hundreds, foraging around our feet, climbing up table legs, or pant legs, looking for goodies. They're not fast and their pincers are small, but they will tear a little chunk out you if they get the chance.  Lie down on the ground and you'll soon have a regiment headed your way.  I recall only one occasion when a Coconut crab came to lunch and he did not come out among us.  He lurked on the edge of our lunch area and seemed most interested in a plastic replica of a human clavicle (collar bone) that one of the team members had brought to the site for comparison purposes.  I named him Clavicle.  We later discovered that he lives in a burrow inside a hollow tree trunk in the buka forest about two hundred meters north of the Seven Site.

It seems reasonable to assume that the castaway did not have/create a tent or other structure to exclude the crabs, although it might have been possible to create some kind of wooden stockade with a lot of work and probably tools.

One of the big mysteries of the Seven Site is the presence of a considerable quantity of small rusty fragments of what appears to have once been corrugated iron.  Our current thinking is that it was probably a stockade around a coconut nursery associated with the abortive planting at the site dating from the early 1940s.  Protecting young plants from crabs by surrounding the nursery with iron is mentioned in the island literature.  The source of the iron corrugation was probably the old Arundel workers shack at the west end of the island which we know from Arundel's notes was sheathed in iron sheets. It's theoretically possible that the corrugation was brought there by the castaway but that stuff had to be heavy and moving it all the way down to the Seven Site seems like more than a castaway could manage.
The coconut crabs can climb trees, making sleeping in a tree crotch undesirable.

It seems unlikely but not impossible that she was able to make a hammock. The tie down ropes (if not lost) plus some fabric or even palm leaves might do it. This might be the best solution if the materials were available. It would have been tried first at Camp 0. if it existed, it was probably lost/scattered/destroyed in the logging.

Hammocks do work pretty well. Jim Morrissey (AE's great nephew) was on our 2001 team.  He made a hammock out of a fishnet he found washed up on the beach. It should have been possible for AE to construct a hammock from tie down ropes and the "Grenfell cloth" engine covers listed in the Luke Field inventory - if they were carried on the second world flight attempt and if they were brought ashore and if they made it all the way down to the Seven Site. 

Haven't I seen a reference to a small islet in the lagoon near the Seven Site? If it exists, would that not have been an ideal sleeping camp? Coconut crabs cannot swim. A good site to look for artifacts.

Hmmmm....now that you mention it, the ONLY such feature that I know of is a big coral rock near the lagoon shore not far from the Seven Site.  I've never thought of it as a possible place for a castaway to sleep and it sure wouldn't comfortable - but neither is getting nipped by crabs. I don't think any of us has ever waded out and climbed up on it - but I'm suddenly eager to do so.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #148 on: November 27, 2012, 12:27:19 PM »

I have found an article on a cadaver dog, that would be a valued member of the Niku 8 expedition. This lab finds 250 year old bones, nearly 2 meters deep. With 100% accuracy..     http://www.news.com.au/national/this-dog-has-a-nose-for-archeology/story-fndo4ckr-1226463394595

Cadaver dogs can definitely find old bones - no doubt about that - but we'd need a team of dogs and handlers and accommodating their special needs would have a major impact on the cost and capabilities expedition.  Niku is a harsh environment for a dog and cadaver dogs are valuable.  What do you do if a dog gets hurt of sick?  Do you abort the expedition to get the dog to a vet or do you bring along a veterinarian and further reduce your ground team? The larger issue is the question of whether it's reasonable to think that there are bones to find after all this time and, if there are, what are the chances that they would do us any good?  DNA experts are dubious that bones lying on the surface for 75 years in that environment would have recoverable DNA.  We'd be gambling that the dogs cold find bones that somehow had gotten buried.  That's quite a gamble.  We're considering all of these factors in deciding whether cadaver dogs should be part of Niku VIII.
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Bob Lanz

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #149 on: November 27, 2012, 01:42:31 PM »

Ric, are you sure you want to go there.  That is an ominous face on that coral rock.  Oh, crap there I go again seein' things that aren't there.  ;D
Doc
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