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Underwater archaeologists recover HMS Erebus crew belongings

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A team of underwater archaeologists from Parks Canada have recovered personal objects belonging to the crew of the HMS Erebus.

The HMS Erebus was constructed in 1826 by the Royal Navy in Pembroke dockyard, Wales. The ship was a refitted Hecla-class bomb vessel, that was used to explore both the Arctic and Antarctic during the Ross expedition of 1839–1843 (Antarctic), and the failed Franklin expedition of 1848 (Arctic).

The Franklin expedition was assigned to traverse the last un-navigated sections of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic, however, the expedition met with disaster after the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror became icebound near King William Island.

After a year trapped in the ice, the crews abandoned their ships and planned to walk across the sea ice to the Canadian mainland, but died on the long 250 mile trek. In 2014, the sunken remains of the HMS Erebus was discovered by the Canadian Victoria Strait expedition in Wilmot and Crampton Bay, located to the west of the Adelaide Peninsula.

In a recent press announcement by Parks Canada, underwater archaeologists have conducted 68 dives to investigate the HMS Erebus wreck site, recovering hundreds of objects and taking thousands of high-resolution imagery.

According to the announcement: “Carefully excavated artefacts were retrieved to help piece together more information about the 1845 Franklin Expedition, including naval technology, scientific work, and life aboard the vessel.”

The researchers recovered items relating to navigation and science, including a parallel ruler, an intact thermometer, a leather book cover, and a fishing rod with a brass reel. The team found the objects in the officer’s cabin, and believe that they belonged to Second Lieutenant Henry Dundas Le Vesconte.

Also found is a leather shoe or boot bottom, storage jars, and a sealed pharmaceutical bottle from what is thought to be the Captain’s Steward’s pantry. Ongoing excavation efforts took place in a cabin attributed to Third Lieutenant James Fairholme, revealing a collection of unidentified fossils that complement findings from the 2022 season.

Excavations in the forecastle area (where most of the crew lived) yielded a treasure trove of historical items such as pistols, military gear, footwear, medicinal bottles, and coins.

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault – Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, said: “The Franklin expedition remains one of the most popular mysteries from the nineteenth century. However, thanks to the important work of Parks Canada and Inuit partners, pieces of this mysterious puzzle are being retrieved allowing us to better understand the fascinating events of this incredible expedition.”

Header Image Credit : Parks Canada – Brett Seymour

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

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Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Rare copper dagger found in Polish forest

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A rare copper dagger from over 4,000-years-ago has been discovered in the forests near Korzenica, southeastern Poland.

Piotr Gorlach from the Historical and Exploration Association Grupa Jarosław made the discovery during a metal detector survey in Jarosław Forest.

Upon realising the significance of the find, Mr Gorlach contacted the Podkarpacie conservator of monuments in Przemyśl and the Orsetti House Museum.

The dagger dates from over 4,000 years ago, a period in which objects made from copper were extremely rare in the Central European Plain.

A preliminary study indicates that the dagger may originate from the Carpathian Basin or Ukrainian steppe, and predates the development of bronze metallurgy for the region.

This transition is traditionally known as the Copper Age and marked a gradual incorporation of copper while stone remained the primary resource utilised.

Dr. Elżbieta Sieradzka-Burghardt from the museum in Jarosław, said: “This is a period of enormous change in the main raw materials for the production of tools. Instead of flint tools commonly used in the Stone Age, more and more metal products appear heralding the transition to the next period – the Bronze Age.”

Daggers during this era were a universal attribute of warriors, however, being made from copper suggests that the owner held a high social status. This is further supported by its size measuring 10.5 cm in length, which for this period is actually very large when compared to other metal objects from the same era.

The dagger has already been added to the collection of the Orsetti House Museum in Jarosław.

Header Image Credit : Łukasz Śliwiński

Sources : PAP – A dagger from over 4,000 years ago found in the forest.

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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