The wreck of HMS Terror on the verge of unveiling its secrets

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Dark, icy waters pop up with wooden furniture, ceramic plates, glass bottles and even shelves that seem to be kept in an exceptional state of preservation. As frozen in time, these finds have not seen the light for 170 years.

<q data-attributes = "{" lang ": {" value ":" fr "," label ":" French "}," value ": {" html ":" The HMSTerror is very well preserved "," text ":" The HMSTerror is very well preserved "}}" lang = "en">HMS Terror is very well preservedlaunches, feverishly, Marc-Andre Bernier. In a telephone interview, the archaeologist who is part of the Parks Canada agency team has trouble concealing his joy.

<q data-attributes = "{" lang ": {" value ":" fr "," label ":" French "}," value ": {" html ":" Until now, we've only managed to see the outside of the wreck. But this time, we were able to take incredible pictures of the inside of the boat, which includes the quarters of the crew.This is unheard! "," Text ":" Until now, we had only managed to see the outside of the wreck. But this time, we could take incredible pictures of the inside of the boat, which includes the quarters of the crew. It's unheard of! "}}" Lang = "en">Until now, we had only managed to see the outside of the wreck. But this time, we were able to take incredible pictures of the inside of the boat, which includes the quarters of the crew. This is unheard of!

Artifacts such as his ceramic plates were filmed inside the wreck of HMS Terror during an expedition led by a team of archaeologists from the Parks Canada Agency.

Artifacts such as his ceramic plates were filmed inside the wreck of HMS Terror during an expedition led by a team of archaeologists from the Parks Canada Agency.

Photo: Canada Park

The Franklin expedition has fascinated historians and archaeologists for ages. Despite intensive research to find the two jewels of the British navy at the time, it is only recently that have been spotted the wrecks of ships from England in 1845 to find the famous passage of the Northwest, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to the far north of the country.

It was in 2012 that HMS Terror was finally located, about 25 meters deep off Île du Roi-Guillaume, located in the Far North. Two years later, it was the turn of the HMS Erebus to be identified, this time 100 kilometers further south in the Gulf of Queen Maud, corroborating the testimonies of the Inuit of the region whose stories of the failed expedition have been shared from generation to generation.

It's loaded with emotion, because for example you have the chance to see an officer's bunk with some of his items left on the table. To see all these objects posed and motionless, one has the impression that the ship was literally abandoned.

Marc-André Bernier, archaeologist Parks Canada

Beginning August 7 in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, the underwater archeology team explored the site for seven days in waters near zero degrees Celsius.

Using a vehicle – a sort of remote-controlled robot that can navigate in tight places with bright lights and a high-definition camera – the researchers managed to film the ship's bowels for the first time. What they discovered was beyond their expectations.

We were able to enter all the rooms of the first bridge, this is the place where the crew lived. There are common areas and cabins representing almost thirty enclosed spaces. There are beds, desks, and in the officers' cabins, you can see shelves with plates, glasses, bowls or bottles, enthuses Mr. Bernier.

In search of the Grail

But the researchers are not at the end of their surprise. While they get clear images of more than 90% of the lower deck of the ship, as they go through their marine search, they discover the cabin of Francis Crozier, the commander of HMS Terror. This is the best preserved place on the boat, says the archaeologist.

Many sediments have infiltrated through the windows of the stern. This is ideal since by covering the artifacts, the sediment that creates a less oxygen-rich environment has probably preserved the interior of the room, especially organic matter such as paper.

But of all the cabins explored, only that of the captain remains closed. The reasons are still unknown, but behind the closed door, the room could contain unique treasures, such as written documentation as well as the logbook.

It revealed the captain's office, card cabinets, two thermometers and boxes probably containing scientific instrumentsadds the archaeologist. The personal quarters of the captain is the nerve center of the ship. Here we keep records of the trip. One can expect to find a multitude of valuable documents.

The good weather allowed us to dive 48 times to the wreck. What we first saw were the preservation conditions, especially in the captain's cabin. All the furniture is still in place with the desk, the drawers and probably a host of documents saved.

Marc-André Bernier, archaeologist Parks Canada

Many questions persist regarding the Franklin expedition. The archaeologist, who is currently in the Erebus site, the next stage of exploration for his team, hopes that these new discoveries will help to understand what really happened to the crew members, 133 sailors died in mysterious circumstances. Circumstances that favor a slew of hypotheses.

Our next step is to analyze the images recorded inside the wreck. With this new information, we will be able to perfect our knowledge of the historical and Inuit stories of the Franklin expedition. This is a very important milestone. Our inventory will open a door to new ways of studyhe says.

This archaeological project is one of the most important in Canadian history. Following an agreement signed in 2018 with the United Kingdom, all artifacts discovered will now belong to both the Government of Canada and the Inuit.

Future expeditions on the HMS Terror, which is 25 meters deep, should be done safely. Still, there is potentially an inestimable wealth of documents or other very fragile items, so we must really prepare the next shot to not damage them, concludes Mr. Bernier.



Source link
https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1277493/epaves-terror-erebus-expedition-archeologie-franklin

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