//After 165 years, Inuit knowledge leads to Franklin’s wrecks

After 165 years, Inuit knowledge leads to Franklin’s wrecks

We’re celebrating Nunavut’s twentieth birthday by reviewing the territory’s successes and its challenges in areas ranging from music and the visual arts to the economy, the state of Inuktut and climate change. Some notable Nunavummiut share with us what the territory means to them and the changes they’d like to see over the next 20 years.

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ ᐅᖃᓕᒫᕈᓐᓇᖅᑕ ᐅᓇ ᐅᕙᓂ 165 ᐊᕐᕌᒍᑦ ᐊᓂᒍᕐᓯᒪᓕᖅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᓂᖓᑦ ᕗᕌᖕᒃᓕᓐ ᐅᒥᐊᕐᔪᐊᖓᓂ ᓇᓂᓯᒍᑎᐅᕗᖅ.

The discoveries—in 2014 and 2016—of the lost ships of Sir John Franklin’s 1845 Arctic expedition were among the most significant archaeological finds of their kind.

They had eluded searchers for nearly 165 years, and it was not until late in the 20th century, when researchers finally looked back at some of the recorded Inuit testimony, which had been neglected all this time, that the solution to the mystery was found.

Again and again, Inuit witnesses told those that sought them that one of the ships had sunk at Utjulik—the northwestern coast of the Adelaide Peninsula—in water shallow enough that, for a time, the masts were visible above the water. These clues, initially pursued in the 1990s by David Woodman, lay at the centre of the renewed search effort, begun by Parks Canada archaeologist Robert Grenier, along with the late Inuit historian Louie Kamookak in 2008.

Nearly every summer for the next six years, the area was searched, using small skiffs towing sonar. In 2014 Parks Canada decided to try searching further north in the Victoria Strait, near the ships’ last known location; ironically, it was only because of poor ice conditions there that they returned south to the Utjulik area.

This early illustration depicts the departure of the Erebus and Terror from England in 1845. (File image)

And it was there, on Sept. 2, 2014, that Parks Canada’s Ryan Harris saw the shadow of what proved to be HMS Erebus on his sonar screen, and uttered the now-famous phrase, “That’s it! That’s it!”

learn more at ::::After 165 Years Knowledge leads to Franklin’ Wrecks

By | 2019-04-13T22:10:00+00:00 April 13th, 2019|Blog :::: KSG Scuba Scoop|0 Comments

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