Shipwreck may hold clues to lost expedition from 1800s

By Sarah Harvey

Archaeologists inspects the hull of H.M.S Erebus. PHOTO: PARKS CANADA
Archaeologists inspects the hull of H.M.S Erebus. PHOTO: PARKS CANADA
Canadian archaeologists have used a rare calm period of weather in the Arctic to explore a shipwreck once thought lost forever.

According to The National Geographic the H.M.S Erebus was dispatched by the British admiralty in Canada in 1845 to search polar waters for the fabled Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, the expedition led by Sir John Franklin was soon lost.

Searchers combed Canada’s high Arctic for more than 150 years for the expedition’s two ships, H.M.S. Erebus and Terror until it was announced last year the Erebus, at least, had been found. The ship was found in less than 12 metres of water in a remote Arctic strait.

National Geographic says in the past Northern Hemisphere summer a Canadian team returned to the Arctic to study the ship’s well preserved remains by inserting cameras through holes in the vessel’s upper deck and hull.

They found the shattered remains of expedition leader Sir John Franklin’s cabin. Apparently part of the stern where Franklin’s quarters were located has collapsed, trapping what appear to be his furnishings and possessions under beams and planking.

Much of the ship is remarkably intact raising hopes archeologists may be able to find artefacts and possibly even photographs.

It is hoped the watery tomb of the H.M.S Erebus may finally provide the story as to the finals hours of the ship and the expedition.

The search for the H.M.S Terror continues.


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