Artifact Rekindles Amelia Earhart Speculation

Group says cosmetic jar found on remote Pacific island could be Earhart’s.

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart

** Amelia Earhart in the cockpit of her Lockheed Electra.**Flying

Pieces of a cosmetic jar found on a remote Pacific island have rekindled speculation over what happened to Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan during their ill-fated circumnavigational flight attempt in 1937.

The jar remnants, found by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) on the island of Nikumaroro, reportedly resemble pieces of a container used for Dr. C. H Berry’s Freckle Ointment during the early 1900s. TIGHAR group members say the jar joins other evidence of an American female castaway presence on Nikumaroro, formerly known as Gardner Island, around the time of Earhart’s disappearance, and that the jar is of particular note considering Earhart’s well-documented dislike of her heavy freckles.

The jar is just one piece of evidence amongst a handful of other findings that warrant, TIGHAR researchers say, further exploration of the theory that Earhart and Noonan made an emergency landing on the southwestern Pacific island of Nikumaroro, instead of running out of fuel somewhere near their intended destination of Howland Island, located approximately 300 miles to the north, which has long been the predominant belief.

The team has already made nine archaeological excursions to the site and has spent much time sifting through archival data in pursuit of that effort. Those endeavors have led to the uncovering of records that show the 1940 discovery of a partial skeleton and campsite on the island, as well as a photo taken three months after Earhart’s flight showing what TIGHAR researchers claim could be the landing gear of her Lockheed Electra in the waters off southwestern Nikumaroro.

Despite ongoing skepticism regarding the potential of a breakthrough find, the team will embark on its next exploration in July, the 75th anniversary of Earhart's disappearance, conducting an expedition with the help of Phoenix International, the main underwater search contractor used by the U.S. Navy. The search will rely on multi-beam sonar to search for the aircraft, following up on any objects of interest with a remote operated vehicle.

For now, the team is poised to present analysis of its recent findings at a three-day conference focused on Earhart’s disappearance this weekend.