Archeological teams to excavate, map wrecks of Franklin expedition

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OTTAWA — Canadian archeologists are on their way to a remote island near the Arctic Circle for another chance to dig up the secrets held by the Franklin expedition wrecks.

Parks Canada and Inuit partners on the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee say this summer’s exploration will be the largest and most complex underwater archeological event in Canadian history.

It will include 3D mapping and drone exploration of HMS Terror, while portions of HMS Erebus will be searched for artifacts.

The two ships are the remains of an expedition launched by British explorer John Franklin in 1845 that became trapped in ice, with the last of the crew dying around 1848.

The location of the ships and the fate of the crew were a mystery until a partnership of the Canadian and Nunavut governments and Inuit communities discovered the Erebus in 2014 followed two years later by the Terror.

Parks Canada says there may be thousands of artifacts aboard the wrecks — which would become the joint property of Canada and Inuit —that will help unravel the mystery of the ill-fated expedition.