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Author Topic: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.  (Read 63715 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2012, 11:07:32 AM »


Please notice that you have completely failed to document the assertion that the survivors talk about traveling to the southeast corner of the island, which was the issue in contention.


My intention was not to document that assertion at all (I can't see how you interpret my post as saying that)


Because the first quotation in your post, which provides the context for my list of three survivor reports that DO NOT MENTION the southeast corner of the island begins:

...several statements that said that they went to the South-East corner of the island. I am not sure how many ways that you can interpret that.

So, Heath Smith says that "several statements said they went to the South-East corner of the island."

I say, "I can't find any such statements from the survivor reports."

Then you come in, quoting the two of us, and say, "They went to the lee side."

Do you see why I noted that you had failed to advance the conversation that you quoted?

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... suggested to me that it was that as they were on the north western part of the island and as it was impossible due to surf conditions to evacuate from there they crossed the entrance to the lagoon and eventually went to the southwestern side of the island, finishing up in a quieter spot somewhat in the lee of the very slight point on the south western side of the island. * 

That was where they were eventually evacuated from. Now unless I am mistaken if they crossed to the lower northeastern side across the lagoon then all your accounts of the evacuation are wrong and they were embarked from the northeastern shore. Your own map in the Ameliapedia reference to the Norwich City

http://tighar.org/wiki/File:Norwich_City_Rescue.jpg

shows the location I am talking about which is midway down the southwestern side of the island.


I'm glad that you agree with our map maker.  That means that you disagree with Heath Smith that the narrative of the survivors suggests that they camped at the Seven Site (cf. subject of these posts--that is what we have been discussing in this thread).

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*This was after, if I read the account correctly, they did try an evacuation from the lower north eastern side but it was impossible due to surf conditions. The accounts are at times difficult to follow.

We can use place names.  The shipwreck is on the reef west of Nutiran.

"Across the lagoon" was probably from Nutiran to Tekibeia or Aukairame South.

With wind and waves coming from the west or north-west, Tekibeia and Aukairame South would be on "the lee side of the island."  That would also be true when the winds returned to the north-east.

The rescue took place from somewhere near Baureke Passage, which is between Tekibeia and Aukairame South.
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« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 03:00:33 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2012, 12:17:57 PM »

One of the interesting things about Nikumaroro is that it seems to confound folks about what direction parts of the island face, including us when we're there.  I think it has to do with the semi-diagonal nature of the orientation, where nothing is in line with one of the cardinal directions.

Thanks for posting those old-timey charts, Andrew.  They accentuate the point that Niku's layout has always supplied a lot of ambiguity when trying to simply talk or write about locations and their relationship to the compass rose.  That "southeastern" shoreline on the old chart is the real confuser: I see it as the shoreline that runs between what I am used to thinking of as the southwest corner (the slight bend between "Noriti" and "Tekibeia" on the way to Bauareke Passage) all the way to the southeast corner ("Ameriki" where the LORAN station was located).  Once that sinks in, the seemingly contradictory nature of the descriptions at the time of the Norwich City incident fall into place.

But speaking of "sinking in," another thanks to you comes from looking at the sad little chart of McKean that you also supplied.  "Dry Lagoon"!  Ha!  Methinks that could have been complicit in the sad (but hilarious and well worth reading) tale of the s(t)inking TIGHAR described in the old forum (scroll down just a couple of pages to where Tom King goads the victim to tell the tale).
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2012, 06:46:20 PM »


Do you see why I noted that you had failed to advance the conversation that you quoted?


Aaah no, not really. Let's just leave at that.
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Heath Smith

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2012, 04:35:38 AM »

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What more do you want?  You're not going to get the survivor's camp over to the Seven Site by re-interpreting "the south east corner."

We can agree to disagree. I am attempting to interpret the statements of the survivors and the captains of the ships that do not match up. If you want to label that as a re-interpretation of an interpretation, so be it.

Just because there are interpretations of "rounding the South-East corner" of the island, that interpretation does not make become an undeniable fact as you seem to be suggesting. To suggest that a captain of a ship is unable to look at his compass to determine whether he is indeed at the Southern edge of an island is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. He was not attempting to map the island, he was simply navigation around the island.

The departure from the South-West side of the island seems to originate from the estimate of 1.5 miles from the NC wreck. Other than that 1.5 mile estimate, what else do you have to tie the departure area to near the Baureke Passage? I am unable to find anything tying that area to the area of departure. Perhaps there were artifacts found by the NZ survey but I did not find that.

If the survivors were lead by the ships to the Baureke Passage there was no mention of this from what I can see. This would have been a significant landmark to have noted by the survivors as well as the captains of the ships. It would seem logical that this would have been written in the testimonies yet it was not.

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The Seven Site is on the windward side of the island, not the lee side.

I believe this statement is incorrect. Again, you are basing that on the prevailing winds and not the winds at the time. The winds were out of the West, and possibly the North-West making the East and South-East sides of the island the lee side.

So we can leave it at that. I believe one thing and you are convinced of another.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2012, 07:02:09 AM »


We can agree to disagree. I am attempting to interpret the statements of the survivors and the captains of the ships that do not match up. If you want to label that as a re-interpretation of an interpretation, so be it.

You claimed to have found the phrase, "southeast corner", in the statements of the survivors.

I looked.

It's not there.

If you have other sources, please provide links to them.

Otherwise, it is rather a big hole in your argument.

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Just because there are interpretations of "rounding the South-East corner" of the island, that interpretation does not make become an undeniable fact as you seem to be suggesting.

The person who said that was the captain of one of the rescue ships.

He was not one of the survivors of the Norwich City.

Captain: on the water.

Survivors: on land.

Captain: didn't camp at the Seven Site.

Survivors: almost certainly came nowhere near the Seven Site (cf. subject of this thread).

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To suggest that a captain of a ship is unable to look at his compass to determine whether he is indeed at the Southern edge of an island is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. He was not attempting to map the island, he was simply navigation around the island.

We agree.  He is on the water, not on land.  He is a rescuer, not a survivor.  His use of the phrase, "southeast corner" has nothing to do with the testimony of the survivors about where they went when.

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The departure from the South-West side of the island seems to originate from the estimate of 1.5 miles from the NC wreck. Other than that 1.5 mile estimate, what else do you have to tie the departure area to near the Baureke Passage?

My bad.  I was working from memory.  It looks like the departure was from the area of Tekebeia, probably where the reef is narrowest, and therefore easiest to cross.  That area is in the lee of a westerly wind, if the storm wind was still blowing, and definitely in the lee of the prevailing winds from the north-east.

My source for the 1.5 miles is Hamer's survivor testimony: "The two vessels now cruised along the reef in search of a suitable place, the surf near the wreck being far too dangerous. A place was found about 1 1/2 miles south of the wreck, the breakers being not quite so bad, but bad enough to make it anything but a joy ride to get over."


The 1.5 nautical mile is closer to the Norwich City and further away from the Seven Site (which is the issue in this thread).

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The Seven Site is on the windward side of the island, not the lee side.

I believe this statement is incorrect. Again, you are basing that on the prevailing winds and not the winds at the time. The winds were out of the West, and possibly the North-West making the East and South-East sides of the island the lee side.

So we can leave it at that. I believe one thing and you are convinced of another.


I agree with you that "lee" is a term relative to the wind.

I am disagreeing that it tells us exactly where the crew was.

Note that "the island" is also an ambiguous term.  When the seas are high, there are two islands in the atoll.

Meaning 1: Various parts of the island that are "out of the wind."



Meaning 2: the entire coastline that faces toward the Northeast.







LTM,

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Lisa Anne Hill

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2012, 05:44:31 PM »

...I live on the "leeward" side of the island of Oahu, and it's usually windy as hell. Only slightly less than the "windward" side of the island...
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2012, 06:03:33 PM »

You do live in Paradise! Hope to be able to visit there again.
Tom
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Heath Smith

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2012, 04:24:11 PM »

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To suggest that a captain of a ship is unable to look at his compass to determine whether he is indeed at the Southern edge of an island is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. He was not attempting to map the island, he was simply navigation around the island.

We agree.  He is on the water, not on land.  He is a rescuer, not a survivor.  His use of the phrase, "southeast corner" has nothing to do with the testimony of the survivors about where they went when.

It was the ships that lead the survivors to the best place to launch from. That was not a decision of the survivors. If the captain stated they traveled around the South-East corner of the island, this places them very close to the Seven Site. This would have been the lee-side of the island had the winds continued from the North-West. This is also stated on the Norwich City Survivors' Shelter page.

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What was the “lee” of the island as referred to by the Norwich City crew?

Second Officer Lott’s statement: “They told us that it was impossible to go through that surf again so we went to the lee side.” [9] The prevailing wind on Gardner Island was from the northeast with the southwest side of the island generally referred to as the “lee” side. But during the storm, conditions for Norwich City survivors were reversed. With the wind blowing from the west or northwest, the lee side became the east or southeast of the island . “Lee side”, in nautical parlance means the side sheltered from the wind, or “down wind”. Therefore a location on the island’s south or southeast side would provide better shelter from the wind and seas, and a better chance of improved surf conditions.

So the West or South-West side of the island was not the lee side of the island. The only single data point that would suggest the South-West side of the island, near Tekebeia, is the estimate of 1.5NM South of the NC wreck. Although repeated in other testimonies, that does not mean that this was accurate.

If you accept only that estimate of 1.5NM and reject all the rest, you do end up at Tekebeia.

If you accept the other evidence, the lee-side being the South-East, the captain stating that he rounded the South-East corner, and the crew oaring to the South-East across (not along) the lagoon, then you are very near the Seven Site.
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john a delsing

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2012, 11:11:56 PM »

I think that Heath may be on to something, if He is correct that would explain many things; the number of fires, the placement of bones, a source for many of the artifacts. I could continue.
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Heath Smith

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2012, 03:26:17 AM »

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1930's artifacts in a 1920's camp site.

How many artifacts can absolutely be pinned to the late 30s versus the late 20s?

There is the bottom of the bottle with the single digit date code, 3, where 33 is assumed. Although this is probable this is not absolute. This could have possibly arrived in 43. Some factories were not following orders to use the new 2 digit form in the 40s.

The cat paw heel has been around for a long time, well before 1937 as I understand it.

Is there anything else that has a concrete date associated with it?

There is also the possibility you have artifacts in the same area from different eras, that is probably not unusual for such a small island. For example, as I recall the one artifact of fabric with a knot in it that contains polyester in the threading and that was not around in the 30s.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 03:28:31 AM by Heath Smith »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2012, 07:04:19 AM »

It was the ships that lead the survivors to the best place to launch from. That was not a decision of the survivors. If the captain stated they traveled around the South-East corner of the island, this places them very close to the Seven Site.

Your assumption, not warranted by the text, is that the rounding was from Aukaraime South, past Ameriki at the southeast corner, ending up (BRIEFLY) near the Seven Site in Aukaraime North to get cross the reef.  The captain who rounded the southeast corner said he saw the whale boat crossing the lagoon--in other words, he was not leading the survivors anywhere; they were traveling on their own. 

You are ignoring the 1.5 mile constraint from Hamer's survivor testimony: "The two vessels now cruised along the reef in search of a suitable place, the surf near the wreck being far too dangerous. A place was found about 1 1/2 miles south of the wreck, the breakers being not quite so bad, but bad enough to make it anything but a joy ride to get over."

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This would have been the lee-side of the island had the winds continued from the North-West. This is also stated on the Norwich City Survivors' Shelter page.

With the wind from the northwest, Noriti, Tekibeia, Aukariame south, and Ameriki are all in the lee of the wind.  No one place on the island is uniquely "the lee side."

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Second Officer Lott’s statement: “They told us that it was impossible to go through that surf again so we went to the lee side.” [9] The prevailing wind on Gardner Island was from the northeast with the southwest side of the island generally referred to as the “lee” side. But during the storm, conditions for Norwich City survivors were reversed. With the wind blowing from the west or northwest, the lee side became the east or southeast of the island . “Lee side”, in nautical parlance means the side sheltered from the wind, or “down wind”. Therefore a location on the island’s south or southeast side would provide better shelter from the wind and seas, and a better chance of improved surf conditions.

Tekibeia is definitely on the south side of the island.

So are Akaraime south and Ameriki.

The Seven Site is not a unique solution to the meaning of the phrase "lee side of the island" with the wind coming from the Northwest.



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So the West or South-West side of the island was not the lee side of the island.

On the contrary.  Given the shape of the island, with the winds from the Northwest, Noriti and Tekibeia are "hidden" from the Northwest wind by Nutiran and Ritiati.  They are in the lee of the wind.

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The only single data point that would suggest the South-West side of the island, near Tekebeia, is the estimate of 1.5NM South of the NC wreck. Although repeated in other testimonies, that does not mean that this was accurate.

As you yourself said earlier, we ought to trust sailors to have some idea of what they are talking about when testifying under oath.  Of course, "1.5" miles must be taken as an approximation.  It might have an error bar of plus or minus a quarter to half of a mile.  I cannot imagine pushing it to 4 miles.  Theories ought to be constrained by the data.

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If you accept only that estimate of 1.5NM and reject all the rest, you do end up at Tekebeia.

I reject your interpretation of the rest.

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If you accept the other evidence, the lee-side being the South-East, the captain stating that he rounded the South-East corner, and the crew oaring to the South-East across (not along) the lagoon, then you are very near the Seven Site.

Now you are assigning an arbitrary univocal meaning to "across."  To my eye, Tekibeia is "across the lagoon" from Ritiati, Nutiran, Taraia, Aukaraime north, and the Seven Site. 

Lastly, if you are reducing your argument to where the pickup took place, you don't get your survivors to the Seven Site using the testimony about the "Southeast corner" of the island until all the camping is complete and it's time to get rescued.  If the rescue ship rounded the corner from Aukaraime South, around Ameriki, and picked up survivors from Aukaraime North, the survivors were only there a very short time--not long enough to account for the remains of birds, fish, clams, and a turtle, along with mulitiple and possibly overlapping fire features.
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Heath Smith

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2012, 02:38:22 PM »

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Your assumption, not warranted by the text, is that the rounding was from Aukaraime South, past Ameriki at the southeast corner, ending up (BRIEFLY) near the Seven Site in Aukaraime North to get cross the reef.  The captain who rounded the southeast corner said he saw the whale boat crossing the lagoon--in other words, he was not leading the survivors anywhere; they were traveling on their own.

There is only one South-East corner on the island as mentioned previously. TIGHAR's webpage specifically mentions that due to the West and/or North-Westerly wind, the "East" or "South-East" corner of the island would be the lee-side of the island. Since the captain declared he "rounded the South-East corner of the island" I do not think it takes much imagination to suggest that perhaps there really is a South-East corner to the island (I see one) and that the ship rounded it, exactly as the captain stated. Perhaps you need to re-think your unwarranted assumptions of the text.

Why do you suppose the a crew was crossing the lagoon? To get to the other side? Out sight seeing? In my personal opinion it is obvious that the ships traveled South and the crew followed their lead, passing to the South-East side of the island "across" the lagoon. To suggest that they just happened to head out in the same direction without any coordinated purpose is incomprehensible to me. The captain had already rounded the South-East corner then he witnessed the boat moving across the lagoon. More than likely he witnessed the crew oaring toward him as he rounded the corner, just like he stated.

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With the wind from the northwest, Noriti, Tekibeia, Aukariame south, and Ameriki are all in the lee of the wind.  No one place on the island is uniquely "the lee side."

Yes, the is one lee side versus many lee areas. The lee side is that which is down-wind, by definition.

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Tekibeia is definitely on the south side of the island.

So are Akaraime south and Ameriki.

The Seven Site is not a unique solution to the meaning of the phrase "lee side of the island" with the wind coming from the Northwest.

We certainly can declare, using your quadrants overlaid on to the map, that Tekibeia is not the "South-East corner of the island" that the captain said that he rounded.

How do you reconcile that? You must believe that he "rounded a corner toward the South-East" and not the South-East corner of the island. That seems to be quite an interpretation of a very direct statement in the testimony. The other option is that a captain of a ship cannot determine the South-East corner of an island or he was simply wrong. If he was wrong about that he must have been hitting the bottle at the helm and we cannot assume the 1.5NM is correct either.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 03:16:48 AM by Heath Smith »
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Heath Smith

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2012, 05:22:53 PM »

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Maybe the question to ask is what objects found so far are from the Norwich City?

It would be complete conjecture but I have thought the corks on brass chains found by Gallagher was a bit odd. I certainly would not think that the Electra was carrying casks or containers with corks but who knows. We would be assuming of course that Gallagher was actually at the Seven Site where he found the bones and other items.

What is interesting is that in the testimony they specifically talk about dragging barrels and casks to shore for the survivors. They also noted that they took these items back to the ship when they departed. Perhaps the corks became dislodged when they rolled the empty barrels/casks back to the boat.

How the bones found with the shoe sole, sextant, and corks on chains would be related I have no idea. Perhaps there is no relation. Maybe a castaway (AE, FN, or someone else) happened to wander in to the area following a path where the NC survivors camped out and ended up dying there under the 'ren' tree.
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2012, 11:24:10 PM »

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1930's artifacts in a 1920's camp site.

How many artifacts can absolutely be pinned to the late 30s versus the late 20s?

There is the bottom of the bottle with the single digit date code, 3, where 33 is assumed. Although this is probable this is not absolute. This could have possibly arrived in 43. Some factories were not following orders to use the new 2 digit form in the 40s.

The cat paw heel has been around for a long time, well before 1937 as I understand it.

Is there anything else that has a concrete date associated with it?

There is also the possibility you have artifacts in the same area from different eras, that is probably not unusual for such a small island. For example, as I recall the one artifact of fabric with a knot in it that contains polyester in the threading and that was not around in the 30s.

Speaking as an archaeologist (albeit retired) I see absolutely nothing in the material recovered from the Seven Site that can be categorically accepted as evidence of Earhart or Noonan's presence. The skeletal material has disappeared and while there is a modern assessment that it is possibly that of a woman rather than that of a male this is not based on the bones but on the original examiner's notes. That is not a criticism of Burns et al.

http://tighar.org/Publications/TTracks/1998Vol_14/bonesandshoes.pdf

but simply a statement of the obvious.

The female shoe, found elsewhere, is interesting but the main support for it being Earhart's is the negative view that the Polynesians have feet like elephants so they couldn't wear a shoe that size. Well yes that is entirely possible but have we considered that it might have belonged to a child or simply have been washed up there. I would assume that Polynesians like the rest of us are not born with large feet - I will gladly accept evidence to the contrary.

The rest of the material, supported by the historical data, just shows transitory occupation by people both European and Polynesian nothing more nothing less. If might be possible that two of those people were Earhart and Noonan but there is nothing at the Seven Site to indicate that.

From Maude's visit in 1937 until the settlement is evacuated in 1965 we have pretty constant activity on the island and an artifact suite which shows little or nothing to distinguish any one particular event. In fact one might say there are three cultural phases present -

A. The short lived Arundel occupation in 1892.

B. The wreck of the Norwich City and the camp sites of the survivors, and

C. The PISS settlement from its initial reconnaissance in 1937 through to its evacuation in 1965 and which contains a short lived phase (C1) limited to the southern end of the island - the wartime US Coast Guard LORAN base.

All of these occupation phases are distinguished by the dominance of European artifacts so it is not surprising that a very brief (if it occurred) occupation by Earhart and Noonan is yet to be distinguished from the other three phases.       
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Heath Smith

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Re: Norwich City survivors and the Seven Site.
« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2012, 03:25:07 AM »

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(C1) limited to the southern end of the island - the wartime US Coast Guard LORAN base.

I am not sure how you can say that the CG era would be limited to any particular area on the island. Granted the buildings were stationary but I am sure they had roamed that entire island dropping artifacts as they went.

I know that if I were stationed there and not on duty, I would be hiking, fishing, walking that shoreline everyday. The island is only what 6 miles long? You could cover that in an afternoon walk. They probably had small boats to roam around the lagoon as well.
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