More Than 350 Artifacts Recovered from the HMS 'Erebus' Shipwreck
Mon, April 19, 2021

More Than 350 Artifacts Recovered from the HMS 'Erebus' Shipwreck

 

In May 1845, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror sank as British naval captain Sir John and his crew found sea route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific through the Arctic Ocean. The Franklin Expedition was considered one of the worst disasters in the history of polar exploration. Search parties and sleuths have discovered campsites, graves, and artifacts over the decades that followed, showing the misery and desperation of the crew as they dispersed and tried to find safety. 

 

Credits: History 101

 

In 2014 and 2016, Parks Canada and its Inuit partners identified the wrecks of Erebus and Terror, respectively, marking a major turning point in the cold case. However, the Arctic conditions only made the wrecks accessible for only about five to six weeks every year. According to Smithsonian Mag, the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the divers used a technique called surface supply diving to allow them to get unlimited air supply through an umbilical cord-like hose.

 

Credits: Smithsonian Mag

 

At the same time, divers were fed warm water in their suits, enabling them to stay underwater for up to three hours without coming up. Last 2019, however, the team managed to only recover over 50 artifacts. "When you find a shipwreck, you have to really understand what you're faced with before you really start doing some intrusive work on the site," Marc-André Bernier, manager of Parks Canada's underwater archeology team, said. 

 

Credits: Smithsonian Mag

 

But, recent reports show that the team has already uncovered more than 350 artifacts from just a small area of the wreck. Some of the objects they recovered include kitchen wares, wine bottles, a wax seal with a fingerprint, and a hairbrush with hair strands. "We have had the most successful season since the discovery of the wreck. The preservation of the objects is quite phenomenal,” Bernier said. 
 

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