Nails, copper may be Franklin ships

By Bob Weber

A few scraps of copper and a handful of nails are the tantalizing first fruits of the latest search for the ships of the doomed Franklin expedition.

While heavy Arctic winds have hindered crews on the waters where the 19th-century British ships are thought to have sunk, searchers combing the shores of four nearby islands have turned up a few relics that may have come from the Erebus or the Terror, two of the world's most sought-after marine archeological prizes.

"We found additional small fragments of copper and what appear to be nails and other materials," Doug Stenton, Nunavut's chief archeologist and a member of the team that recently began the search, said yesterday.

The findings suggest European presence in the area, and the area where they were found will be searched again, he said.

Canadian Arctic Franklin expedition Canadian government British shipwrecks Erebus and Terror