Ship frozen 170 years ago found by archaeologists
The fate of Sir John Franklin's expedition became one of the great mysteries of history. What is known is that the group set sail from Britain in May 1845 with a crew of 133 men and orders to clear the so-called Northwest Passage, a maritime route consisting of a string of straits in North America above the Polar Circle. Arctic, which at the time attracted the attention of countless explorers.
For the odyssey, Franklin received two ships: Terror and Erebus, fully equipped for 3 years of action. At the end of July 1845, the same year of departure, crew members of some nearby boats spotted the pair cutting the waters at the Greenland Crossing to remote Baffin Island in Canada. After that, no one ever saw the ships again or even who was on them.
Over time and the absence of news, search teams were sent. Equipment was found along the course the ships were supposed to have followed, along with skeletons and disturbing evidence of cannibalism that made it clear that the expedition faced a major disaster. However, the details have not yet been unveiled.
The Terror ship was discovered in 2016, to everyone's surprise, in the icy waters of King William Island in the far north of Canada. However, it was only now possible to study the wreckage. A Canadian government agency (Parks Canada), in partnership with Inuit, made a series of dives to analyze the ship's situation and found that everything was in extreme condition. According to the divers, plates and glasses remained on the shelves, scientific instruments remained in their cases, and the beds and tables remained in complete order.
"The sediment, with cold water and darkness, creates an almost perfect anaerobic environment, ideal for preserving delicate organic materials such as tissue and paper, " said Ryan Harris, lead project archaeologist. "There is a very high probability of finding clothes or documents, some of them possibly still readable."
Why the two ships drifted apart, how they sank, and why these are questions that archaeologists still hope to answer. The biggest mystery, however, is how the Terror ship has managed to remain so preserved and in order for so many decades.