Bones file

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The fullest account we have of the materials found on Nikumaroro is the file in the WPHC Archives. The discovery of a partial record in the Tarawa bones file in 1997 led TIGHAR to find the more complete account in the Archives.

Complete transcription of the contents of the bones file, with much additional information.

  • Call number: 1228414 WPHC 4/IV 4192/40-4510/40.
  • File #: WPHC 4 Vol 2 IV MP 4439/1940 (G&E)
  • Title: "Skeleton. Human:-- Finding of, on Gardner Island."
  • In ballpoint pen on the file itself under "Other Connected Papers", it reads:
The handwriting looks careless. Steve Innes, the director of the Special Collection that houses the WPHC Archives didn't recognize it as a call number.
  • The last note from Sir Harry Luke--and the last entry in the file--dated 19 August 1941, looks like: "Seen. Pa." That matches the instruction from 1945 to use B.U. and P.A. for "bring up" and "put away." When the box of bones and the sextant box left the custody of the WPHC, the person or persons who made a decision of what to do with them evidently were unwilling or unable to reopen the file and make a note of where the boxes and their contents went.