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Author Topic: Broken Glass Containers  (Read 13319 times)

Ted G Campbell

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Broken Glass Containers
« on: January 05, 2011, 12:42:11 PM »

Ric,

I am sure you have given some thought as to why most of the glass containers you’ve found on Nike have been broken in some shape or form.  From what I’ve seen on the site (TIGHAR’s) many of the glass containers are relatively robust in shape and thickness, to break them would require quite a force I think.

Is there any pattern to the breakage that you’ve noticed e.g. heating in a fire, results from target practice, dropage, etc.?

The reason I ask this question is because I am trying to formulate in my mind how long these glass objects may have been at the “seven site”. 

If the objects were whole when the “bones” were found it seems logical to think that the natives would have collected them and taken them back to the village -  that is if they saw them.  If they didn’t see them then one would question how thoroughly was the “bone search” conducted by Gallagher?

One could also conclude that if the objects were already broken at the time of the “bone search” they would have been of no use to the natives.  What would have broken them at that time?  Fire?  Dropage?

If the objects were broken as a result of target practice then one could conclude that the Coast Guard was first on the scene re the objects and that opens another trail to follow at some later time.
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Chris Johnson

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Re: Broken Glass Containers
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2011, 03:07:15 PM »

Target practice would show evedince of firearms, i.e. bullet holes etc..

More likely fire damage from boiling water in the fire?
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Gus Rubio

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Re: Broken Glass Containers
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 12:20:02 PM »

A forensic analysis of the fragments should reveal clues about how the glass was broken.  As Chris indicated, bullets would leave distinct breakage patterns, as would strikes against rocks or other hard objects.  Does breakage from heating leave unique signs in the structure of glass? 

In addition, I would think that close inspection of the broken edges might show if they were used as tools.  It probably wouldn't be feasible, but I wonder if examining the found remains of meals (bones, clam shells, coconut husks, etc.) might reveal tiny glass fragments if the glass shards were used this way.  IMHO of course, I'm no expert, just thinkin' out loud.

-Gus
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Barry Dreher

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Re: Broken Glass Containers
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2011, 07:40:56 PM »

Hello All,

As TIGHAR Member #2842, I have been a reader of everything about Amelia on TIGHAR, but this is my first post.

Gus Rubio commented that "In addition, I would think that close inspection of the broken edges might show if they were used as tools."

As I thought about the mystery of the broken glass containers, it occurred to me that there may be a parallel to the folding pocket knife that was apparently broken apart by the castaway to provide a blade or other part of greater function to survival than the original item. What does a man who finds himself in a bar fight without a weapon grab (besides pool cues)? He grabs a bottle, of course, then breaks it so that he has an edged weapon, as we see in many, many movies. So, my suggestion is that if the glass containers were broken by the castaway, they were broken somehow, some way, so that the resulting glass shards would be useful as cutting or scraping tools. A sharp, curved piece of glass with a rounded, smooth base, such as the freckle cream jar bottom might have served a useful purpose in scraping out turtle or clam shells. From the photo it appears as if there would have been a useful sharp edge with nice non-sharp handle (the base).

Even if the castaway did not get to use all of the glass shards as tools, they may have been something that was anticipated as having value as a tool, thus the glass containers were broken by some means to see what useful pieces might be obtained. If the knife blade was getting dull from scraping out or breaking open shells, it might not take very long to think of breaking any glass containers at hand to have access to a very sharp edge. If they were broken for use as cutting and scraping tools, then the glass containers would have been broken purposefully and carefully by whatever means were available so as not to ruin the resulting pieces for their intended use. There may have been some trial and error involved in this endeavor.

Bye for now,

Barry Dreher
TIGHAR 2842

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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Broken Glass Containers
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2011, 03:34:05 PM »

Analysis of many of the glass shards is currently underway, and it would appear that some of them have been used as tools.  Ric will probably make available that research shortly in a more comprehensive Research Bulletin.

Whether or not it was the castaway who used them as tools is yet to be determined, but one can certainly imagine that a person who uses broken glass as a tool probably doesn't have access to anything better, and that would seem to match the situation of the castaway.

AMCK
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Mark Petersen

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Re: Broken Glass Containers
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2011, 03:50:09 PM »

Andrew, thanks for sharing.  This is a very interesting development that helps explain why so many glass containers were broken at the 7 site.  I can easily see how our castaway would resort to using glass as a cutting tool, given the state of the knife that was found at the site.
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Ted G Campbell

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Re: Broken Glass Containers
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 08:09:18 PM »

Ric,
Has the broken glass containers been tested for blood residue?
Ted Campbell
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Ted G Campbell

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Re: Broken Glass Containers
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2011, 06:19:13 PM »

Ric,
This question is important to determine how the glass objects may have been broken and whether or not they may have been used as tools.  The test is simple and not expensive.
Ted Campbell
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Broken Glass Containers
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2011, 08:12:37 PM »

Ric would have the definitive answer, but I believe that many of the glass pieces that were collected in 2007 have been examined / tested for anything that might contain DNA, and that would include residue of blood. 

AMCK
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Ted G Campbell

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Re: Broken Glass Containers
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2011, 07:46:56 PM »

I would think a simple blood residue test would preceed a DNA test which I understand is quite expensive.  Was there such a test?
Ted Campbell
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