Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ottawa to mount search for lost Franklin ships

Some 163 years after they disappeared into the icy fastness of the Arctic archipelago, Sir John Franklin's ill-fated ships, Erebus and Terror, are once again at the centre of a great geopolitical game over claim to the Northwest Passage.

After decades of official indifference to the possibility that new technologies might locate the missing Royal Navy ships, Ottawa is not only mounting a search, reportedly from the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Amundsen and led by Parks Canada senior underwater archaeologist Robert Grenier, but the Conservative government is investing it with national purpose. Environment Minister John Baird has scheduled a news conference Friday.

This isn't really. . .well, it is archaeology, but not the usual sort we here at ArchaeoBlog post about. I like the Franklin story due to the exceptionally well-preserved bodies (photo of one at the link) and because of the mystery of why they died (though I tend to favor the lead hypothesis, which is the leading one).

I still have an idea that I should buy myself a big fat life insurance policy and arrange to have my body flown up to the Arctic and buried in permafrost so I can be as well preserved as these guys.