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Amelia Earhart: 'Beauty kit' found on desert island in Pacific

By // News | Amelia Earhart: 'Beauty kit' found on desert island in Pacific
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By Snejana Farberov and Hugo Gye

PUBLISHED: 21:56 EST, 13 July 2012 | UPDATED: 09:10 EST, 14 July 2012

Investigators could be a step closer to solving the 75-year-old mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance after finding what appears to be her beauty kit on a deserted island.

Baby oil, hand lotion, rouge and a compact were all discovered on the island of Nikumaroro, in the Pacific Ocean between Australia and Hawaii.

When considered along with the freckle cream which was unearthed on the island in May, the items suggest that the presence in the area of an American woman in the first half of the 20th century.

Discovery: This bottle of St Joseph's lineament was found on a desert island in the area Amelia Earhart is believed to have crashed on an ill-fated voyage around the world in 1937

Discovery: This bottle of St Joseph's lineament was found on a desert island in the area Amelia Earhart is believed to have crashed on an ill-fated voyage around the world in 1937

Earhart (pictured) vanished on July 2, 1937, while flying over the Pacific Ocean during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe around the Equator

Legend: Earhart (pictured) vanished on July 2, 1937, while flying over the Pacific Ocean during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe around the Equator

If this woman was indeed the famed aviator Earhart, then she must have survived after her plane was downed during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe around the Equator.

Two bottles have been identified as containing some sort of skincare product, according to Discovery News.

One, a green bottle which appears to have been melted in a cooking fire, looks like St Joseph's Liniment, a type of mosquito repellent.

Thomas King, an archaeologist leading the expedition to uncover the mysteries of Earhart's fate, suggested that the bottle may have been used to boil water in an attempt to have something to drink.

As well as lotions and balms, fragments of a red material were found which turned out to be cosmetic rouge.

'Earhart is known to have carried a compact which, if it was like others of the period, would have contained rouge,' Mr King said.

Clue: This hunk of glass is from a bottle of Campania's Italian balm made in 1933

Clue: This hunk of glass is from a bottle of Campania's Italian balm made in 1933

Cosmetic: One of the substances found on the island was identified as rouge from the early 20th century

Cosmetic: One of the substances found on the island was identified as rouge from the early 20th century

Another crucial find came in the form of two slivers of glass which appear to be part of a compact mirror from the 1930s U.S.

Mr King said: 'We know she had a compact, and a news account has recently surfaced of her powdering her nose before getting out of the plane in Australia.'

In May, a glass container was found broken in five pieces on Nikumaroro by researchers of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR).

When reassembled, the fragments make up a jar identical in shape to the ones used by Dr. C. H Berry's Freckle Ointment, Discover News reported.

‘It's well documented Amelia had freckles and disliked having them,’ Joe Cerniglia, the TIGHAR researcher who spotted the freckle ointment as a possible match, told Discovery News.

The jar fragments were found alongside other artifacts during TIGHAR's nine expeditions to the tiny coral atoll, where some experts believe Earhart lived as a castaway and died.

The aviatrix disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937. The general consensus has been that Earhart's twin-engined plane ran out of fuel and crashed in the Pacific Ocean in the vicinity of Howland Island.

Amelia's freckles: Reassembled jar fragments (left) found alongside other artifacts on an island have been found to resemble a freckle ointment (right) possibly used by Earhart

Amelia's freckles: Reassembled jar fragments (left) found alongside other artifacts on an island have been found to resemble a freckle ointment (right) possibly used by Earhart

But some scientists are skeptical about this theory. Ric Gillespie, the executive director of TIGHAR, said during a press event in March that the navigation line Earhart described in her final radio transmission passed through not only Howland island, but also through Gardner Island, which is now known as Nikumaroro.

According to Gillespie, the possibility that Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan might have made an emergency landing on the flat coral reef is supported by a number of artifacts which, combined with archival research, strongly point to a castaway presence on the remote island.

‘Broken shards from several glass containers have been recovered from the Seven Site, the archaeological site on the southeast end of Nikumaroro that fits the description of where the partial skeleton of a castaway was discovered in 1940,’ Gillespie told Discovery News.

The skeletal remains were found in what appeared to had been a castaway's camp, where researchers also discovered a man’s shoe, part of a woman’s shoe, remnants of a fire, and animal bones. All of these artifacts, however, have seen been lost.

Not all the finds collected from the spot on Nikumaroro known as Seven Site have been attributed to the possible presence of a castaway.

Skeletal remains were found on Nikumaroro Island in the Pacific Ocean in 1940, but have since been lost

Uninhabited: Skeletal remains were found on Nikumaroro Island in the Pacific Ocean in 1940, but have since been lost

‘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,’ Gillespie said.

However, two glass bottles dating from the 1930s that were found in what had been a small campfire appear to support the castaway theory.

‘The bottoms of both bottles are melted but the upper portions, although shattered, are not heat-damaged — implying that the bottles once stood upright in the fire. A length of wire found in the same spot has been twisted in such a way as to serve as a handle for holding a bottleneck,’ said Gillespie.

According to the head of TIGHAR, it is possible that whoever was on the island used the bottles to boil seawater to make it drinkable.

Some of the recovered items contained products generally used only by women. Laboratory analysis of remnants of the contents in a three-ounce bottle show a close match to Campana Italian Balm, a hand lotion made in Batavia, Illinois, that was popular in the 1930s.

However, the most intriguing of the Seven Site artifacts appears to be the small cream jar.

Earhart made history by becoming the first woman to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932

Pioneer: Earhart made history by becoming the first woman to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932

So far, the researchers have not been able to match the exact size of the artifact jar to a known jar of Dr. Berry's ointment.

More important than the exact contents of the jar, however, is the fact that four of the broken pieces of the container were found together, while the fifth piece was discovered about 65 feet away near the bones of a turtle.

According to Gillespie, that piece of glass shows evidence of secondary use as a cutting or slicing tool.

‘The bottles and other artifacts we have found at the Seven Site tell a fascinating, but still incomplete, story of ingenuity, survival, and, ultimately, tragedy. Whether it is Amelia Earhart's story remains to be seen,’ Gillespie said.

Earhart gained international fame after becoming the first woman to cross the Atlantic as part of a team in 1928, although she did not pilot the plane herself.

Five years later, Earhart made history when she completed a solo flight from Newfoundland to Ireland in her single engine Lockheed Vega 5B, for which she received the Distinguished Flying Cross from the U.S. Congress.

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