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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Franklin Expedition developments

"The archeological discoveries exceeded our expectations," says Robert Grenier, chief of underwater archeology at Parks Canada, in a Reuters Canada article. Their major find: fragments of copper sheeting likely from the expedition's vessels. Although fog, snow, and high winds hampered their activities this season, they will be returning to continue their work in 2009 and 2010.

In addition, a detailed essay refuting the long-held theory that the expedition members' lead poisoning was due their tinned food has been published in the September issue of the Journal of the Hakluyt Society. In his paper, which the Society has kindly made available online as a .pdf file (complete with color illustrations), William Battersby attributes the lead poisoning to a unique system for distilling water in Erebus and Terror. These systems, though, were fitted into the ships at the last minute; conclusive proof of the lead content of the systems' components would come through archaeological discoveries. For that, the wait continues.

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