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Sonar image of one of Sir John Franklin's lost ships.

Sonar image of one of Sir John Franklin's lost ships. // Image: Parks Canada

Why did Sir John Franklin’s last expedition fail?

March 16, 2015 — 

For centuries the challenge of finding a navigable sea route through the Canadian Arctic drew European explorers to that daunting region, but in the 1840s those attempts culminated in the catastrophic loss of Sir John Franklin’s 3rd expedition. Almost continuously since then, people have been attempting to understand why and how this unprecedented disaster occurred.

Robert W. Park, professor of anthropology at the University of Waterloo, will deliver a presentation on March 16 describing how recent archaeological research has contributed to our understanding of the lives and deaths of some of these explorers, culminating in finds this past summer that led to the discovery of Franklin’s own ship HMS Erebus.

Park’s research over the past 35 years has been into the Inuit of Canada’s Arctic as well as the early European exploration of that region. This year, University of Manitoba anthropology professor Brooke Milne helped Park’s research by lending her LiDAR scanning technology to better document some of the finds.

What: Free public lecture: “Lost Explorers: The Archaeology of John Franklin’s Last Expedition”
When: Monday, March 16, 2:30 p.m.
Where: 306 Tier Building, University of Manitoba, Fort Garry campus

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