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Franklin's fate: discoveries and prospects

  • N. James (a1)

2014, at last, revealed the wreck of HMS Erebus off Canada's Arctic mainland. Two years later, her companion, HMS Terror, was found 40 miles away, off King William Island. The government was already confident enough about their whereabouts in 1992 to declare the entire area a National Historic Site and, among other responses to the retreating ice and increasing shipping, Parks Canada began searching for the wrecks in 2008. Previous investigators had concentrated on tracing and recording the crews: among others, Owen Beattie in the 1980s (Notman et al. 1987), F.L. McClintock in 1857–1859, and four naval expeditions before that. HMS Investigator was lost in the 1853 search, and her wreck discovered off Banks Island in 2011. Ranging very widely, all of the investigators, and many others, were trying to find out what befell Sir John Franklin's attempt to complete the Northwest Passage between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific in 1845–1848. Erebus and Terror were his ships.

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Hutchinson, G. 2017. Sir John Franklin's Erebus and Terror expedition lost and found. London: Adlard Coles Nautical.
Kowal, W., Beattie, O.B., Baadsgaard, H. & Krahn, P.M.. 1991. Source identification of lead found in tissues of sailors from the Franklin Arctic expedition of 1845. Journal of Archaeological Science 18: 193203.
Loomis, C. 1977. The Arctic sublime, in Knoepflmacher, U.C. & Tennyson, G.B. (ed.) Nature and the Victorian imagination: 95112. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Mays, S. & Beattie, O.. 2015. Evidence for end-stage cannibalism on Sir John Franklin's last expedition to the Arctic, 1845. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 26: 778–86.
Notman, D.N., Anderson, L., Beattie, O.B. & Amy, R.. 1987. Arctic paleoradiology: portable radiographic examination of two frozen sailors from the Franklin expedition (1845–1848). American Journal of Roentgenology 149: 347–50.
Ryan, K. 2017. Death in the ice: the shocking story of Franklin's final expedition. Gatineau: Canadian Museum of History.
Yergeau, E., Michel, C., Tremblay, J., Niemi, A., King, T.L., Wyglinski, J., Lee, K. & Greer, C.W.. 2017. Metagenomic survey of the taxonomic and functional microbial communities of sea water and sea ice from the Canadian Arctic. Scientific Reports 7: 42242.
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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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