Volume 12 Number 2/3
October, 1996
earhartlogoearhartlogoFound Objects
Navigator’s Bookcase Sheet of aluminum with red paint Cut Strip of Aluminum Aluminum Plate
Dado Aircraft Skin Aluminum Comb Riveted Assembly
Channel Section Cables Plexiglas Aircraft Safety Wire
Thermometer, broken Threaded metal cap Shoe parts Artifact 2-2-G-8, Shoe heel
Artifact 2-2-G-8, Shoe heel
Date found: October 1991 during TIGHAR’s Niku II expedition. Heel
Identification assistance: Cat’s Paw, a division of The Biltrite Corporation.
Description: This is a rubber shoe heel measuring 3 and 1/8 inches in length by 2 and 7/8 inches across its greatest width. It is nominally 3/16 inch thick and is pierced by 8 nail holes in which remnants of the washers are still present. The nails appear to have rusted completely away and one nail did not penetrate all the way through the heel. The exterior (bottom) surface is considerably worn, especially on one side toward the rear. The interior surface exhibits no discernible codes or markings.
Condition: The rubber is hard and exhibits the same degree of degradation seen in 2-2-G-7/1, the Cat’s Paw heel.
Identification: This is an original heel, slightly larger and more worn than the replacement heel found in the same area. Re-heeling, by necessity, is done to both shoes of a pair. It seems apparent then, that this heel is from a second pair of shoes.
Commentary: The presence of any shoe in this location would be remarkable. The location is far from any settled part of the island and the hot, hard coral rubble is hardly conducive to barefoot strolling. Rubber shower-shoes and an occasional sneaker can be found washed up on the ocean beach, but this location is much too far inland for that explanation. That two pair of shoes (one of them belonging to an American woman) should have been abandoned or lost in this place is odd in the extreme. At the same time, the distribution of the fragments and the absence of the other two shoes suggests at least some scattering from the original point of deposition (assuming all four shoes started out in roughly the same place). Because all of the recovered fragments float, water would seem to be the most logical agent of distribution – specifically, flooding of the lagoon about 200 feet away. Logically then, the shoes were originally deposited somewhere between the point of discovery and the lagoon shore. This also tracks with the old island story of a woman’s skeleton with American shoes found under the bushes about five feet from the shore.
Conclusion: The various shoe fragments are most probably from the shoes said to have been found in this location with the bones of a white woman and man in 1938. It is very likely that the shoes, and the bones, belonged to Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.
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