An Interview with Tom King

In this interview, conducted in May 2011, at the 2011 edition of The Archaeology Channel International Film and Video Festival, Dr. Tom King answers questions about the ongoing search for aviatrix Amelia Earhart, who disappeared on July 2, 1937, in the vast Pacific Ocean in her attempt to fly around the world.  July 2nd, 2012, the 75th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance, is the date when a new expedition sailed from Honolulu to search for Earhart’s airplane in the deep waters off the small island of Nikumaroro.  While Tom King was here as Keynote Speaker for TAC Festival 2011, ALI’s Rick Pettigrew collared him and asked him a few questions on camera about the Earhart Project.  This was before the 2012 expedition was organized, but he already had a handle on most of the results of his archaeological excavations on the island.  As you’ll see, whatever the results of the 2012 expedition, the archaeological data make a very strong case.

The Interview:


About Tom King:


tomking Dr. Tom King (Ph.D., Anthropology, U.C. Riverside) is Senior Archaeologist with The Historic Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), particularly involved in research focusing on the 1937 disappearance of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart (See www.tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/AEdescr.html).  His co-authored book, Amelia Earhart's Shoes (Altamira Press) recounts TIGHAR's adventures in pursuit of Earhart through 2004; since publication of Shoes, King has directed two more field sessions (in 2007 and 2010) at the Seven Site on Nikumaroro, the island in the Republic of Kiribati where TIGHAR hypothesizes that Earhart died.  Based on historical data and archaeological findings, King's 2009 Novel, Thirteen Bones (Dog Ear Publications), imagines the documented 1940 discovery of human remains that very likely were Earhart's on Nikumaroro, from the point of view of the Pacific islanders who found them.  TIGHAR's work on Nikumaroro is the subject of a Discovery Channel special, "Finding Amelia," which aired on December 11, 2010.

King's 50-year career includes the conduct of archaeological research in California and the Micronesian islands, management of academy-based and private cultural resource consulting organizations, helping establish government historic preservation systems in the freely associated states of Micronesia, oversight of U.S. government project review for the federal government's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, service as a litigant and expert witness in heritage- related lawsuits, and extensive work as a consultant and educator on heritage-related topics.  He is best known for his work with indigenous groups and local communities, using U.S. historic preservation laws to insist that their cultural places and concerns be considered in planning projects that threaten them.  

King is the author of eight books on archaeology and heritage/cultural resource management through Left Coast Press (www.lcoastpress.com) and Altamira Press (www.altamirapress.com) as well as many journal articles, popular articles, and internet offerings on heritage topics.  His most recent nonfiction book, Our Unprotected Heritage (Left Coast Press) is a critique of contemporary cultural resource management and environmental impact assessment, with recommendations for improvement.  He publishes a blog on cultural resource management at http://crmplus.blogspot.com/, and another on the Earhart search at http://ameliaearhartarchaeology.blogspot.com/.

Amelia Earhart (Wikipedia)

Amelia Earhart Archaeology (Tom King blog)

Amelia Earhart: The Official Website

The Latest in the Search for Amelia: Interview with Ric Gillespie and Tom King (The Archaeology Channel)

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR)

The Search for Amelia Earhart: Interview with Tom King  (The Archaeology Channel)

Tom King’s CRM Plus (blog)