I love archaeology and it often aids in historical research, but I feel there is some serious stretching going on here.
The TIGHAR people are relying on some pretty sketchy stuff, most of it is, to be honest, hearsay stuff about an alleged castaway on what was then Gardner’s Island and the fishy story of a female skeleton that was supposedly recovered from the island and then conveniently lost. Now we have an anti-wrinkle cream jar that just might have belonged to her and some upcoming photo work on an old photo that might show the impression of a wheel of the Electra. What people like to call “circumstantial” evidence while reminding us that such evidence can be admissable in court. Yes, but it comes in degrees and this is pretty think circumstantial stuff.
The problem remains the same. All efforts to account for her fuel supply put her on fumes at Howland Island about 300 miles away from Gardner. She said she was at Howland and the radio operators said her signal was so strong she had to be very close. She went silent, which most investigators assume meant she went into the drink. The TIGHAR people can’t explain why she didn’t bother to say she was going to fly an additional 300 miles. There were a few post disappearance radio calls, most seem bogus.
I hear a Ballard like expedition is headed to Howland soon and expects to find the Electra in thousands of feet of water near the island. We will see.
A little quick research reminds me that the Phoenix Islands, or which the former Gardner’s Isand is one, were searched in 1937, apparently twice. Evidently, a number of people close to the situation, apparently including legendary pilot Paul Mantz, thought Gardner’s was the second most likely place to look. The Navy flew over it within days of the disappearance and the pilot saw signs of what he called “recent habitation” but his attention to the island drew no response and the Navy evidently did not think there was sufficient evidence to land. Earhart’s husband launched a private search on the heels of the official one and evidently also scoured the Phoenix Group and turned up nothing.
So, it isn’t true to suggest that the Phoenix Islands are a complete chimera, but the essential roadblocks remain. Plus the fact that the islands were searched and nothing came of it.
PS I read in a comment on another site that the anti-freckle cream in question had been off the market for more than one decade when Amelia vanished, making it unlikely that her alleged dislike of freckles prompted her to tote a bottle of the goop along. It doesn’t rule out the possiblility the bottle was “repurposed” but that probably makes it that much more difficult to trace to her. Of course, science is science and it is possible she reused it to carry something that could be traced to her such as a prescription ointment. I will wait for that.