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Author Topic: Seven Site  (Read 240260 times)

Alan Harris

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #120 on: November 23, 2012, 12:31:03 AM »

Realize that intact bottles and jars were not found.  Pieces of glass from bottles and from a single jar were found.  Many of the pieces could fit in the palm of your hand.  The entire 2-8-s-2a could nearly fit in the palm of your hand.

But if two of the bottles are considered by TIGHAR to have been shot up by the Coast Guard, they would have been intact, or largely so, in the Gallagher and Bushnell time frames.  Highly unlikely the USCG men would have been shooting small pieces into even smaller pieces.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #121 on: November 23, 2012, 08:57:16 AM »


You seem to be saying that we know what there is to be found and that those things should be easy to identify. I dispute both of those notions.

Thank you Mr Gillespie for your reply. I apologise if I have given you any offence, I understand that you have dedicated a large chunk of your life to finding Amelia Earhart so I can see that the failure to come up with the answer you are seeking must be very frustrating.

You have not given offense.  On the contrary.  I always find it encouraging and uplifting when a critic's complaints prove to be based on invalid assumptions - which, so far, has consistently been the case.  I'll admit that it's occasionally frustrating to have to rehash long-established facts and principles of methodology but, on the other hand, re-examination is often useful.  For example, I hadn't realized how thoroughly bizarre the idea of a Bushnell surveyor leaving a sextant box at the Seven Site was until John Kada raised the question.
I'll be 65 next month and I've been working on the Earhart case off and on for 24 years so -  let's see - that looks like 37% of my life, a fair chunk. I'm not a masochist and I would not have dedicated that much time and effort to a "failure."  The Earhart Project has been, and continues to be, a tremendous success.  We've uncovered a preponderance of evidence from multiple avenues of investigation - archival, anecdotal, analytical, artifactual, etc., etc, - all pointing to the same conclusion.  We've been unable to find a similar preponderance of evidence pointing to a different conclusion.  But it's not up to us to say when the mystery has been solved.  Each individual must make that judgement for him or her self. 

As our research continues, the supporting evidence and public acceptance of our work continues to grow.  It reminds me of that old cell phone commercial, "Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?" You, and others on this forum, can't hear us yet.  Others can't decide whether they hear us or not.  That's okay.  We'll keep doing our job and I'm confident that the evidence will continue to build.  I'm also confident that no matter what we find, there will be those who dispute that the mystery has been solved. That's okay too.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #122 on: November 23, 2012, 09:16:11 AM »

It is however possible that the castaway had more durable items which are still nearby but have not yet been found. It would have been very practical to cook away from camp (as I do in bear country), given the crab problem. That may also explain the multiple campfire locations. Assuming that the castaway had to clear away flammable detritus to ensure the fire did not spread (almost certain), why go to the trouble of creating many different fire sites? Because of the crabs, drawn to the remains of previous meals. I am assuming that the crabs ARE a real problem for a camper, not easily scared away from a food source. Those who have been on Niku should be able to confirm or deny this.

You're absolutely right and it's something we've often wondered about.  How do you define the boundaries of an archaeological site where nothing is visible on the surface?  All you can do is  keep expanding the excavated area until you stop finding stuff - but how much un-productive ground do you need to cover before you can be sure there is not another little treasure trove just a few meters further on?  If, as you suggest, the crabs motivated the castaway to separate her sleeping/living area from her food preparation/dining area (I sure as heck would) we may have lots more stuff to find - and the more stuff we're able to find, the better our understanding of the castaway's activities and greater the chance that something will be identifiable as directly connected to Earhart.
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Joe Cerniglia

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #123 on: November 23, 2012, 09:38:26 AM »

Realize that intact bottles and jars were not found.  Pieces of glass from bottles and from a single jar were found.  Many of the pieces could fit in the palm of your hand.  The entire 2-8-s-2a could nearly fit in the palm of your hand.

But if two of the bottles are considered by TIGHAR to have been shot up by the Coast Guard, they would have been intact, or largely so, in the Gallagher and Bushnell time frames.  Highly unlikely the USCG men would have been shooting small pieces into even smaller pieces.

As Ric likes to point out, and as I agree, some of the bottles may have been shot by the Coast Guard, or perhaps they may not have been.  I have not yet seen any agreement on how one might test definitively for this occurrence, but the fact I have not seen it does not necessarily mean such a test does not exist.  Many of the glass shards (ointment pot,  putative salt shaker, some others) have been tested for use wear, and the results are interesting, suggesting not all the glass was shot but in fact may have been used secondarily as tools (cutting, etc.) by the castaway(s).  (I recognize that secondary use and bullet strikes are not necessarily mutually exclusive.)

There is another possibility for a small fragment other than its having been shot, which Ric has suggested, and that is that the glassware may have been part of a water collection, purification (distillation?), storage system.  As he suggested February 10, 2012 (with hopes he won't mind the citation, and with strong disclaimer that this was simply a working hypothesis):
-----
"The small bottles, however, do have a special utility with regard to water on Niku.

It rains periodically, but how do you catch the rain water? A bucket or a turtle shell is great if you have one but otherwise you have to retrieve water from the places where puddles form - shallow depressions in the "beach rock" coral near the lagoon shore and the bolls that form in the roots of Buka trees. You can even get a few ounces from the concave Buka leaves that lie on the ground in the forest (see photo). But to collect this water you need a small bottle - the smaller the better.
The only bottles that show signs of being used to boil water are the beer bottle and the green St. Joseph bottle.  The Benedictine bottle may have been used as a storage bottle.  I see evidence of a three-step process for obtaining drinking water.

1. Collect water with small bottles (Campana, ointment pot, St. Joseph).

2. Boil water in beer bottle.  When it breaks use the St. Joseph bottle.

3. Store the boiled water in the Benedictine bottle."
-----
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.

Joe Cerniglia
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« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 12:20:00 PM by Joe Cerniglia »
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Dan Kelly

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #124 on: November 23, 2012, 04:12:32 PM »


You seem to be saying that we know what there is to be found and that those things should be easy to identify. I dispute both of those notions.

Thank you Mr Gillespie for your reply. I apologise if I have given you any offence, I understand that you have dedicated a large chunk of your life to finding Amelia Earhart so I can see that the failure to come up with the answer you are seeking must be very frustrating.

You have not given offense.  On the contrary.  I always find it encouraging and uplifting when a critic's complaints prove to be based on invalid assumptions - which, so far, has consistently been the case.  I'll admit that it's occasionally frustrating to have to rehash long-established facts and principles of methodology but, on the other hand, re-examination is often useful.  For example, I hadn't realized how thoroughly bizarre the idea of a Bushnell surveyor leaving a sextant box at the Seven Site was until John Kada raised the question.


Thank you Mr Gillespie for those words and that explanation. If it's no problem I'd like to ask another question, given your undoubted understanding of the history of Nikumaroro could you explain why you find it bizarre that a Bushnell surveyor might have left the sextant box behind. 
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Alan Harris

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #125 on: November 23, 2012, 04:37:57 PM »

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?
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #126 on: November 23, 2012, 07:30:16 PM »

The knife seems to have been broken deliberately possibly so the blade could be used for spear fishing.  It may have been lost and the jar broken to use to scape turtle meat. I agree with what Joe said about the bottles, and add they may have been carried in the sextant box that had a strap.  The clips indicate a shoulder strap attachment to me.  Also the Pan Am picture of Fred's box shows a strap IMHO.
3971R
 
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 07:34:19 PM by Gregory Lee Daspit »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #127 on: November 23, 2012, 07:49:46 PM »

they may have been carried in the sextant box that had a strap.  The clips indicate a shoulder strap attachment to me.  Also the Pan Am picture of Fred's box shows a strap IMHO.

Here's a blow-up of the Pan Am picture.  I see the distinctive Brandis hardware (handle and closure hooks) but I don't see a strap.  I think I see a bag or maybe a jacket lying on top of the box with part of it draping over.

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Greg Daspit

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #128 on: November 23, 2012, 08:08:18 PM »

they may have been carried in the sextant box that had a strap.  The clips indicate a shoulder strap attachment to me.  Also the Pan Am picture of Fred's box shows a strap IMHO.

Here's a blow-up of the Pan Am picture.  I see the distinctive Brandis hardware (handle and closure hooks) but I don't see a strap.  I think I see a bag or maybe a jacket lying on top of the box with part of it draping over.
can Mr. Glickman look at the PDF I did in post 73 of the little clip thread?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #129 on: November 23, 2012, 08:12:18 PM »

can Mr. Glickman look at the PDF I did in post 73 of the little clip thread?

Where is the "little clip thread?"
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #130 on: November 23, 2012, 08:22:52 PM »

can Mr. Glickman look at the PDF I did in post 73 of the little clip thread?

Where is the "little clip thread?"
Join the Search section.  "Can you explain what the little clips might be?".  Also the last PDF I did illustrates where I believe the clip may show up in another picture
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #131 on: November 23, 2012, 08:34:25 PM »

Sorry Greg, but I don't feel that I can bother Jeff with this.  In a best-case scenario he might be able to say, "Yes, that looks like it might be a clip." but where would that leave us?  There's no way we could investigate the possibility further.
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Jon Romig

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #132 on: November 23, 2012, 11:41:53 PM »

Was the water in fact unhealthy?

The collecting/boiling/storing water explanation for the bottles at the Seven Site is a reasonable hypothesis. It is quite convincing that a 1930's traveller who has recently travelled through Africa and South Asia would have been determined to boil ANY water. But we now know that the diseases of concern are mostly human (or at least mammalian) in origin. Surface water in much of the world, away from humans and mammals (such as in the US wilderness prior to the advent of giardia) is potable although not always palatable (I believe that author Patrick O'Brian would have had a 19th c. historical source as a basis for his tale in "The Fortune of War" of Maturin surviving on a desert island for days on end, on water that was completely fouled with bird guano, and without any ill effects).

Given that human and mammal disease sources were absent on Niku in 1937, would there even have been a problem if the castaway eventually drank untreated surface water? If we were to find that the answer is no (no likely problems from drinking the surface water), then I think we might have made some progress toward understanding the castaways' last days.

Thus it could be useful to collect some surface water during TIGHAR's next visit and, once back in the US, subject it to a standard drinking water quality analysis including microscopy. I believe that these tests could be done at a very small cost.
Jon Romig 3562R
 
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 11:43:30 PM by Jon Romig »
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Dan Kelly

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #133 on: November 24, 2012, 12:20:55 AM »

Was the water in fact unhealthy?

The collecting/boiling/storing water explanation for the bottles at the Seven Site is a reasonable hypothesis. ....

There's something in this old TIGHAR Tracks on p.5 you might find interesting -

http://tighar.org/Publications/TTracks/1992Vol_8/0804.pdf

I don't think it came to anything.
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John Kada

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #134 on: November 24, 2012, 12:55:39 AM »

Isn't it more likely that the sextant part was found at the same time as the skull and Benedictine bottle?
According to the Bones Chronology, the skull and Benedictine bottle were found by the colonists around April 1940. The sextant box was found with the rest of the bones in September of 1940.

Why do you think the sextant part was found in or at the same time as the sextant box? Gallagher doesn't say it was.

Let’s go back to your original question, which was:

“Isn't it more likely that the sextant part was found at the same time as the skull and Benedictine bottle?”

No, don’t think it is more likely that the sextant part was found when the skull and Benedictine Bottle were found circa April, 1940. As far as we know, the finders of those two items did not see the rest of the castaway’s remains or any other personal effects. A few posts ago you speculated that the skull and Benedictine bottle rolled down a slope and were found some distance from the skeleton and you further speculated that the finders were not inclined to go look for the rest of the castaway’s remains. Unless the sextant part rolled down the slope and wound up next to the skull and bottle, a neat trick I would say, I don’t see how the sextant part could have been found with the skull and the Benedictine Bottle.  I also note that Gallagher doesn’t say anything about the sextant part being found with the skull and bottle, he only discusses in the context of the items that he says were found in the later, careful searches made at the castaway site. I further note that entry 1 of the Bones Chronology says:

“1. ca. April 1940 Skull and bottle are found on Gardner Island by unknown Gilbertese colonist.”


If you believe it is more likely that the sextant part was found along with the skull and bottle, I think you need to modify entry 1 to make this clear.

Can I ask you to provide us with your own answer to your question – “Isn't it more likely that the sextant part was found at the same time as the skull and Benedictine bottle?” The way you phrase the question suggests to me that you think the answer is Yes, but in any case please explain what you think the likeliest answer is.

There is still disagreement among TIGHAR researchers about whether the shoe parts found on Aukeraime South are more likely Earhart or Bushnell related.  For a long time I was quite convinced that the shoe parts were Earhart's. New information became available  - the discovery of the bones files and artifacts found at the Seven Site - which caused me to change my mind. I think it more likely that the shoe parts Gallagher found with the bones are attributable to Earhart than are the shoe parts we found on the other side of the lagoon, and I think it unlikely that Earhart shoes would turn up at two locations on opposite sides of the island. If the Aukeraime shoe parts are not Earhart's then the best explanation is probably Bushnell.

But your argument over at the Seven Site is that it isn’t likely that the sextant box is from the Bushnell because there is no other evidence that a Bushnell sailor was at the Seven Site. Is there other evidence that a Bushnell sailor was at the Shoe Site? If not, then you're applying different standards in assessing the origins of the sextant box and the shoe sole.

Same standard. Yes, there is evidence that a Bushnell surveyor was at the Aukeraime Shoe Site. A small broken glass rod found near the site has been identified as a thermometer from a sling psychrometer (the wet bulb/dry bulb device you twirl around to measure relative humidity).  It's not unheard of for one of the thermometers to come loose and fly out of the device as it is being twirled. The Bushnell survey seems to be the most likely origin for such an artifact.
Well, I see you are applying a consistent standard in interpreting the things you find. But it’s a bad one. It is possible for someone to leave behind a single object at a particular site. To ignore a possible source for an artifact found at a site unless other artifacts you’ve found might also be attributed to that same source is a bad idea.

It would be interesting to know more about this glass rod and how sure you are that it came from a sling psychrometer. Did you do some research to determine that the Bushnell guys actually were making relative humidity measurements? In any event, since you think it is possible that Bushnell sailors might have ventured far enough from their surveying points to leave a shoe sole and part of a sling psychromenter at the Shoe Site, you should be willing to believe that they ventured through the Seven Site. Your own tentative interpretation of the Shoe Site suggests such a thing is possible.

In order to assess who left a particular object found by Gallagher or by Tighar, one needs to consider all the possible parties who might have left that object, correct? In the case of the sextant box, Tighar has reason to believe the box once contained a US Navy sextant. A year or so before the box was found, US Navy sailors who were undoubtedly using US Navy sextants for surveying work visited Gardner Island, ...

Not true.  The notion that the Bushnell surveyors were using Brandis Navy Surveying Sextants is a reasonable possibility but it is not "undoubtedly" true.  It's important that we draw a clear line between supposition and documented fact.
Fair point. It’s not undoubtedly true. I would say however that the assumption that Noonan was carrying a Brandis Navy sextant on the Electra seems less certain to me than the assumption that a Bushnell sailor was carrying a Brandis sextant on Gardner Island

and we know they worked at locations very close to the Seven Site, which is where Tighar believes the castaway died and the sextant box was found. The USS Bushnell is thus is a quite plausible source of the sextant box found on Gardner.

We disagree on the plausibility of that possibility.
Agreed

That possibility remains until it is eliminated by some further evidence or by a line of reasoning that has yet to be made.

Agreed
I'm with you, brother!

Let’s suppose that the sextant box was the castaway’s. I remind you that Gallagher and helpers carefully searched the area for the bones carried off by the crabs and for small possessions such as keys, coins and rings, yet failed to turn up any of the glass artifacts found by Tighar.  This suggests that these objects were not brought to the Seven Site by the castaway but rather by other visitors to the site.

No it doesn't.  All it suggests is that Gallagher didn't find everything that was there.  All of the glass artifacts TIGHAR has found that we interpret as most likely attributable to the castaway are broken and may well have been broken at the time of Gallagher's search. Broken pieces of glass are hard to find in coral rubble.  Gallagher says he searched for coins, keys, rings but he doesn't say how he searched.  Did he scuff the leaves aside with his foot or did he meticulously pick up every leave and twig, put them in buckets and carry them off site, then pick through the coral rubble with trowels the way TIGHAR did?

First, note I said ‘suggests’, not ‘proves’. I agree that it is possible Gallagher missed spotting things that Tighar later found. But in assessing where the glass artifacts at the Seven Site came from, I think it is reasonable to consider the fact that Gallagher missed them to indicate that they were left there later by someone other than the castaway.

Second, you have said that two of the bottles, the Campana bottle and the Mennen bottle  were used by Coasties for target practice. If so, surely they didn’t conduct a careful search for them, they just found them. The Campana bottle, was small, only 2-3 ounces (I think); I’m not sure how big the Mennen bottle was, but I suspect based upon my experience with Mennen bottles that it was smaller than the beer bottle which also Gallagher missed. If the coasties could find these bottles without applying archeological search methods, I think Gallagher had a good shot at finding them, however he conducted his careful search. You say that the bottles ‘may well have been broken at the time of Gallagher’s search’.  How strong is your evidence for that statement?

You maintain that Gallagher simply missed seeing the jars and bottles even though they were all found in a relatively small area where you believe the castaway’s bones were found and where the skull was buried. You believe Tighar has found the fire features, bones and shellfish seen by Gallagher; some of those jars and bottles were found in or very close to those fire features.

Gallagher mentioned only one fire and said nothing about shellfish.  TIGHAR has identified two fire features that appear to be castaway-related. 
If you take the position that Gallagher found everything there was to be found at the site then, by definition, everything TIGHAR has found at the site must have arrived later - but not knowing how or for how long or with how many helpers (if any) Gallagher searched, I think that's a difficult position to defend.
It doesn’t seem like a hard position to defend. The Seven Site is small in area, Gallagher and Co. made a careful search, they looked for small possessions, they failed to find the bottles, but the coasties found two of them. I understand the arguments you’ve made about why Gallagher might have missed finding the bottles. If you are comfortable defending that position, great. I think it would be even greater if Tighar simply acknowledged that Gallagher’s failure to find the glass objects poses a problem to its interpretation of their origin; respectfully acknowledging an alternate explanation for a set of facts is part of good research, isn’t it?

Finally, I do think we can say that Gallagher had help making his search. Gallagher’s October 17 messgae to Vaskess says:

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


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