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Author Topic: Bird bone analysis  (Read 16227 times)

Bruce Thomas

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Bird bone analysis
« on: January 28, 2013, 12:38:51 PM »

Tom King muses on his archaeology blog about results of the analysis of the bird bones that have been recovered at the Seven Site.
LTM,

Bruce
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william patterson

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Re: Bird bone analysis
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 05:20:02 PM »

King remarked that it is known the Coast guardsmen Shot birds for fun? First I have heard of that.
If that's the case, then 2000 bird bones around M1 shell casings would make sense. The birds are shot, fell, rotted or ate by crabs.
It doesn't really necessitate a castaway in that instance.
I did not see in his paper how many of the bones had roasting marks which would be more indicative of on site cooking.
One of the difficulties of sorting coast guard debris from possible castaway debris.
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Joe Cerniglia

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Re: Bird bone analysis
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 05:53:51 AM »

If a castaway was responsible for some of those bones,
It would seem to me a fair assumption that a castaway was responsible for "some" bird bones.  Gallagher, who inventoried the site in 1940, said, "There are indications that person was alive when cast ashore – fire, birds killed, etc.,...". That quotation merits at least a mention.

Joe Cerniglia
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: Bird bone analysis
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 10:35:05 PM »

Hi Chris.

I don't know if this is what you are talking about or not. This is a write up about the seven site which includes a map. It was last updated in 2012.
Woody (former 3316R)
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: Bird bone analysis
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 07:34:15 AM »

Great. Glad I could help.
Woody (former 3316R)
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Matt Revington

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Re: Bird bone analysis
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 11:52:22 AM »

Borrowing from another string of recent debate, is there any value in pursuing any sort of chemical signature relating to the bird bones, e.g. the exhalted mercury, be it natural background or biologically transported?

The only way I could see that type of analysis being useful is if the higher level of human activity/destruction during the war years introduced a significantly higher of some traceable material into the food chain that would then show up in the bones and allow for pre- versus post-war dating of the time of bird killing but given the isolated position of Niku I have strong doubts that the difference would be great enough.  And of course you would the need bones collected before that time for a baseline etc, etc, a lot of time, money and work.   

The only thing that i can think of offhand might have value would be to look for isotopes introduced by the post-war south pacific nuclear tests depending of course on how the winds and current distributed those throughout the region, but of course that timeframe couldn't rule out the coasties or the early years of the colonists.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 12:02:24 PM by Matt Revington »
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Matt Revington

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Re: Bird bone analysis
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 12:17:20 PM »

What kind of materials would a Loran Station introduce?  If its de comissioning was anything like that of Canton Island then that could be a sorce of heavy metal contamination?

Not really sure, I guess they would have had to run generators which would burn fuel, would it have been leaded gasoline?  Lead levels might be traceable  but they would have had to burn  a hell of lot to show up in the birds.
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Bird bone analysis
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 01:02:09 PM »

The ointment pot was interesting to me for the part that was found near the turtle shell, away from the other pieces and had indications of chipping.
As far as mercury, it seems more appropriate to compare test on the lotion bottle with test on the Ointment pot
Both are glass so have similar characteristics for absorption
Both found on the same part of the island so likely exposed to similar “soils”/ coral. I think the Loran station, although relatively close is still too far away to be any factor.
The bird bones may show mercury but making that relationship to the glass seems a stretch to me. Although I have to say that I read NC crew scooped water out of a guano pit and I think the ointment pot makes a good scooping tool for very shallow water.  Even this could indicate castaway behavior in my opinion.
As with the glass artifacts, I think the bird bones are interesting for possible castaway study. It was interesting reading Tom King’s blog, especially the preliminary study on “fledging” seasons. Seems there may be a correlation there with AE’s time on the island.
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Bird bone analysis
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 04:16:06 PM »

Greg

Quote
read NC crew scooped water out of a guano pit and I think the ointment pot makes a good scooping tool for very shallow water.  Even this could indicate castaway behavior in my opinion.

got a link for that? Has been said before but Gardner/Niku is light on Guano (for mining purposes)

By quano pit I meant a depression in the guano. First Officer J Thomas describes it his report linked here.
I did read there was no quano mining done on Gardner although it was looked at as a possibility. I think some Americans would have liked it done to lay claim to the island but there simply was not enough guano on Gardner to justify mining.  edit, this is the act I was thinking of: Guano Islands act. I was more interested in the ointment pot as a possible castaway tool and known castaway behavior by N.C. crew. Guano seems like it would not drain as quickly as coral rubble. After it rained it may be a source for ponding water, for birds, wildlife and castaways. At least before it evaporated, hence the need for something like the ointment pot to scoop shallow water. From the description I beleive this "pond" is "NE of the Lagoon".
Edit: I'm not saying the ointment pot was used by N.C. crew but am saying the N.C. castaways and the later Seven Site castaway may have had similar behavior in obtaining sources of water
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« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 06:25:59 PM by G. Daspit »
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: Bird bone analysis
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2013, 07:27:24 AM »

What kind of materials would a Loran Station introduce?  If its de comissioning was anything like that of Canton Island then that could be a sorce of heavy metal contamination?

Not really sure, I guess they would have had to run generators which would burn fuel, would it have been leaded gasoline?  Lead levels might be traceable  but they would have had to burn  a hell of lot to show up in the birds.

Matt, I have attached a short history of the Loran station on Gardner Island which includes a picture of the generators. Because of the configuration of the "fuel delivery system" on the side of the engine, I would say that the engines were diesel, although there is nothing in the article that says that. However, when I saved the picture of the generators, attached below, it labeled them as "Gardner Diesel Generator". Draw your own conclusions.
Woody (former 3316R)
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« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 07:30:13 AM by C.W. Herndon »
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richie conroy

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Re: Bird bone analysis
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2013, 07:41:17 PM »

Hi All

Ric is it known if the benedictine bottle. That was found with bones Was identified by markings  or by label ?
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Bird bone analysis
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 10:13:51 AM »

Richie

I believe the Forum and TIGHAR Tracks archives have a wealth of info on our looking into Benedictine bottles, but in reality there is little info about the Niku Benedictine bottle other than it being described as a Benedictine bottle in the telegrams.

As you can see from the photo posted By Chris, the bottle is pretty distinctive, and has been for quite some time, so label or not, it can be identified as what it is.

amck
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