Underwater vehicles explore HMS Terror of the Franklin Expedition

Archaeologists returned to the discovery site of HMS Terror, one of the ill-fated vessels of the Franklin Expedition, to study the remains with use of remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs).

Remains of HMS Terror (by Parks Canada)

The shipwreck of HMS Terror was discovered last year in Terror Bay, off the remote coast of King William Island. Currently, the site is being explored with ROVs in order to collect photos, videos and scans of the wreck. Parks Canada’s team of underwater archaeologists will also continue their work on HMS Erebus, which was rediscovered in 2014 in Victoria Strait. Divers have already recovered several artefacts from the Erebus, including buttons, ceramics plates, a bronze bell, a 310 kilogram cannon and medicine bottles. Erebus  is said to have been found in perfect condition in the chilly Arctic waters, with plates and cans still on the shelves in the mess hall and the windows still intact.

Underwater exploration of HMS Erebus (by Parks Canada)

Documenting the shipwrecks is part of a wider, decades-long effort to understand the fate of the Franklin Expedition, which left the UK in 1845 in search of a Northwest Passage. Besides the ships, the crew also left behind a smattering of graves, bones and artefacts in the Canadian Archipelago that scientists and historians are still trying to make sense of. Earlier in April, researchers published the first results of an effort to extract DNA from the bones of 24 Franklin Expedition sailors.

(after Live Science, Parks Canada & CBS News)

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