Bones and artifacts found, but so far no ships

Archaeologists believe they have found human remains belonging to a crew member of the doomed Franklin Expedition in Canada’s Arctic during a hunt for the expeditions ships.

By Dene Moore - The Star Phoenix

Archeologists involved in the hunt for the wreckage of the Franklin Expedition in Canada's Arctic have discovered human remains they believe are from a member of the doomed crew.

Despite bad weather that has hampered some of their plans, the journey has been a productive one so far, says the chief of underwater archeology for Parks Canada, and it should get even better with the addition of an automated underwater vehicle from the University of Victoria.

"Work is going well ... (but) we haven't found the ships yet," Marc-Andre Bernier said in a telephone interview after leaving the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier last week.

What they have found in a search on land are more artifacts from the ill-fated expedition.

At Erebus Bay, where at least a dozen members of the Franklin crew are known to have died, more human remains have been recovered.

"They did find a human tooth, and some bone and a toothbrush," Bernier said. "These were really exciting finds."

Sir John Franklin set out from England on May 19, 1845, on a mission to find the Northwest Passage through the Arctic.

He had two Royal Navy ships - the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror - a crew of 135, and provisions for what was expected to be a three-year journey.

In August 1845, two European whaling ships had a chance meeting with the Franklin Expedition as they waited to cross Baffin Bay to Lancaster Sound.

That would be their last contact with the outside world.

Canada Franklin expedition Labrador Sir John Franklin Erebus and Terror Grenier Strait of Belle Isle