Visitors to Nikumaroro
Nikumaroro is a remote island, but we know that it has been visited often. When trying to make a reasonable guess about the source of a particular artifact, the possibility that it came from unrecorded visitors is not negligible.
- An apparent fish trap may be evidence of pre-historic visits by Pacific natives. It seems unlikely to suppose that Nikumaroro was never visited before being charted and named in the 19th century. Some materials were classified as possibly prehistoric on the Niku I (1989) expedition.
- We do not know who left their bones on the island prior to the bones being discovered in 1940.
- The Yankee was in the vicinity in 1940.
- Evidence of unauthorized visits was seen in the 1960s by Eni Etuati: "It was on his single visit that an old gun and knife were found on the beach somewhere between the blasted channel and the village. He thinks the gun may have been a .38 revolver. Both the gun and the knife were 'all rotten.' Some of the men thought the gun was just a toy."
- Etuati himself was on the island as part of a routine patrol--and we do not have a log of all such visits by colonial or post-colonial agents.
- A fragment of a label with a Universal Product Code on it provides evidence of a post-colonial visit.
- A salvage tug retrieved a piece of metal from the Norwich City in 2001.
- A tuna trawler passed nearby in 2001 and took TIGHAR members on an overflight of the island. There is no reason to suppose that many other such trawlers have not taken advantage of the opportunity to explore the island and catch a few crabs for the fun of it.
- H.M.S. Leith and H.M.S. Wellington.
- H.M.S. Leith.
- Ric Gillespie, Timber-cutting and other activities.
- Pearl-divers? (Are there pearls around Niku?)
- Contemporary visitors.