Amelia Earhart Versus Castaway Cobbler, The Notorious Bones Of Nikumaroro Island

Author(s): Daniel Koski-Karell

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Exploring the Recent Past" session, at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

The disappearance of the famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan during an attempted around-the-world flight in 1937 remain a compelling mystery. In March 2018, news media worldwide proclaimed that a new analysis of human remains found on Nikumaroro Island in the Pacific shows with ostensible 99% certainty that they were Earhart's. This claim was and remains controversial. The fact-checking webpage Snopes rates it as "unproven." Such a situation involving archaeological materials begs for hypothesis testing from an archaeological perspective. This paper reports on an investigation designed to test two competing hypotheses concerning what these bones and associated artifacts represent. The methodology employed goes beyond a narrow focus on the partial skeleton and artifacts by themselves to include aspects of the natural environment and regional cultural context. The results of this work are a reminder that extraordinary claims are sometimes (or often) based upon less than convincing evidence.

Cite this Record

Amelia Earhart Versus Castaway Cobbler, The Notorious Bones Of Nikumaroro Island. Daniel Koski-Karell. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, St. Charles, MO. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449114)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 340