ARTIFACTS were recovered from H.M.S Erebus. It departed England in 1845.
There was a bit of sealing wax with a fingerprint, a brush entangled strands of hair and a set of lieutenants epaulets.

These were among about 350 artifacts that were plucked from the sunken crevices and cabins of the H.M.S. Erebus, one of the two naval ships that vanished after setting out from England more than 170 years ago in search of the Northwest Passage, a hoped-for navigable route across the Canadian Arctic.

The disappearance of the Erebus and H.M.S. Terror is still a mystery, part of a story that has eluded scientists, rescuers and historians for more than a century.

Last week, Parks Canada, Canada's national park service, and representatives from the Inuit said they hoped the newly recovered artifacts would help them reconstruct what happened aboard the vessel before they sank.

''This is only the beginning of the excavation,'' Ryan Harris, the senior underwater archaeologist and Parks Canada's project director, said in an interview. ''We are trying to learn the sequence of events, basically the historical narrative.''

Part of the investigation would be devoted to unveiling what life was like for the crew members as they confronted their own mortality in extreme conditions, Mr. Harris said.

''What their lives were like on a ship of exploration, three, four years into the expedition,'' he said.
''They see their comrades fallen that they weren't ever going to see home again.''

The disappearance of the ships, which formed the basis for the AMC television series ''The Terror'' has captivated historians and scientists, and prompted dozens of search missions over nearly two centuries.

The ships set off from England on a morning in May 1845, with a cat, a New Foundland dog named Neptune and a monkey named Jacko, according to the 2017 book ''Ice Ghosts'' by Paul Watson, which documents the expedition's history.

Under the command of the explorer Sir John Franklin, their aim was to chart the Northwest Passage to India and China.

In 1846, after the the expedition sailed into Canada's Arctic Archipelago, the ship became jammed in ice off King William island. In 1847, Franklin died, and in 1850, the British Royal Navy started a search for the ships and crew, Mr. Watson wrote.

The 129 sailors eventually perished, and the vessels drifted to their frigid graves.

Their story has surfaced in in fragments. In 1858, a search party found two cursory notes left by the crew describing how the ships had become trapped in ice. Franklin's death and plans to find a path to a trading post Hudson Bay.

But the wreckage lay quiet for more than a century until 2014, when a remotely controlled underwater vehicle picked up its silhouette near King William Island in the territory of Nunavut - the place where the Inuit, the region's aboriginal people, have long said the ships had been crushed by sea ice.

It was the sixth attempt by the Canada's government to locate a wreckage from the doomed voyage.

The sadness of this publishing continues every third day. The World Students Society thanks author Christine Hauser.


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