Washington, Oct 30 : New archaeological evidence has emerged that points to the existence of a sailor on a small tropical island in the Pacific in 1704, who is believed to have the inspiration behind Robinson Crusoe, author Daniel Defoe's famous fictional character.
Alexander Selkirk, the sailor, was marooned on the island of Aguas Buenas (now renamed Robinson Crusoe Island), in 1704, and survived there for more than four years.
According to a report in Science Daily, archaeological evidence, in the form of a campsite of an early European occupant, has now been found to support contemporary records of the sailor's existence on the island.
The most compelling evidence is the discovery of a pair of navigational dividers, which could only have belonged to a ship's master or navigator, as evidence suggests Selkirk must have been.
The evidence is 'some practical pieces' and mathematical instruments, some of the few possessions that Selkirk had taken with him from the ship, which were found by his rescuer, Captain Woodes Rogers.
The finds also provide an insight into exactly how Selkirk might have lived on the island.
Postholes suggest that he built two shelters near to a freshwater stream, and had access to a viewpoint over the harbour from where he would be able to watch for approaching ships and ascertain whether they were friend or foe.
Accounts written shortly after his rescue describe him shooting goats with a gun rescued from the ship, and eventually learning to outrun them, eating their meat and using their skins as clothing.
He also passed time reading the Bible and singing psalms, and seems to have enjoyed a more peaceful and devout existence than at any other time in his life.
According to David H Caldwell, from National Museums Scotland, "The evidence uncovered at Aguas Buenas corroborates the stories of Alexander Selkirk's stay on the island and provides a fascinating insight into his existence there."
"We hope that Aguas Buenas, with careful management, may be a site enjoyed by the increasing number of tourists searching for the inspiration behind Defoe's masterpiece," he added.
Alexander Selkirk was born in the small seaside town of Lower Largo, Fife, Scotland in 1676. A younger son of a shoemaker, he was drawn to a life at sea from an early age.
In 1704, during a privateering voyage on the Cinque Ports, Selkirk fell out with the commander over the boat's seaworthiness and he decided to remain behind on Robinson Crusoe Island where they had landed to overhaul the worm-infested vessel.