It's been more than two months since amateur aviation gumshoe Hillary Clinton accompanied members of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) to investigate the possible wreckage of Amelia Earhart's flying machine on the remote South Pacific island of Nikumaroro, but researchers have now literally pieced together some more evidence that indicates Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan might have lived a castaway-like existence before...joining Captain Nemo and going on interminable adventures around the world's fathomless oceans, of course.
According to Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, broken glass shards from what might have been a cosmetic bottle for freckle cream (Earhart, btw, had a whole bunch of freckles) have been found near an archaeological site — the so-called Seven Site — at the southeast end of Nikumaroro, an area that fits an earlier description of the place where a partial human skeleton was discovered in 1940. "Unfortunately," said Gillespie, "the bones and artifacts found in 1940 were subsequently lost," along with any hope of directly linking any of the shards to Earhart and Noonan's possible time as residents of the remote island. Plus, Gillespie explained, the Seven Site contains evidence from activity across many epochs of island's history, a fact that further frustrates the link between these new findings and Earhart's disappearance.
For example, the top of a war-time Coke bottle and pieces of what was probably a large salt shaker of a style used by the U.S. military are almost certainly relics of one or more U.S. Coast Guard target shooting forays.
There goes soda, fucking our shit up again. Despite all this tempering-of-expectations, Gillespie acknowledges that there's strong evidence for a castaway presence on the island, and not just, like, a volleyball with a someone's blood smeared grotesquely all over it. Researchers found two small bottles dating from the 1930s standing upright in what had been a campfire, their bottoms melted but their necks otherwise not heat-damaged. A small wire with a bottle-neck loop was also found, making it reasonable to assume, according to Gillespie, that the bottles were used to boil safe drinking water.
Lest you think that maybe these bottles are really just evidence of Leonardo DiCaprio preparing for The Beach with some of his grandmother's Depression-era esoterica, consider this — one of the Seven Sites bottles appears to be a small cosmetics jar that researchers think could have been contained Dr. C.H. Berry's Freckle Ointment, a sure-fire early 20th century freckle fader. Though researchers haven't been able to determine a positive match, Gillespie thinks that the recovered and reassembled jar could very well have come from Dr. Berry's fabulous freckle factory. He said,
The reassembled artifact jar does, however, fit nicely in a box in which freckle cream was marketed. The known Dr. Berry jars do not. So we know there was a jar of Dr. Berry's Freckle Ointment of the same size as the artifact jar, but we don't know whether it was clear glass
TIGHAR has also found some hand lotion that was popular among American women in the 30s. All of these little potions were found in the same site, which Gillespie insists is the truly-telling discovery. Now, with this latest breakthrough in her unsolved disappearance, we can all imagine Amelia Earhart stranded on a desert island, deciding which she hated more — her freckles or dehydration.
Amelia Earhart's anti-freckle cream jar possibly found [MSNBC via Discovery News]