The truth about what happened on Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated Arctic expedition of 1845–48 has been shrouded in mystery for 165 years. Carrying the best equipment that the science and technology, Franklin and his men set out to “penetrate the icy fastness of the north, and to circumnavigate America.” The expedition’s two ships — HMS Erebus and HMS Terror — carrying 129 officers and men, disappeared without a trace. From 1846 to 1880 more than 20 major rescue parties were involved in the search for the missing men and ships. The disappearance of the expedition and absence of any substantial written accounts of the journey have left attempts at a reconstruction of events sketchy and inconclusive. In Frozen in Time, forensic anthropologist Owen Beattie and historian John Geiger tell the dramatic story of the excavation of three sailors from the Franklin Expeditions, buried for 138 years on the lonely headland of Beechey Island. This book contains the astonishing photographic record of the excavation, together with the maps and illustrations that accompany this riveting account of Franklin’s fatal adventure. The unfolding of Dr. Beattie’s unexpected findings is not only a significant document but also, in itself, a tale of high adventure.
The discovery of the wreck of British explorer Sir John Franklin's ship The Erebus in the fall of 2014 is likely to renew interest in this book, first published in 1987 by forensic anthropologist Beattie and Geiger, now CEO of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, and fortuitously reprinted before the shipwreck was discovered. Franklin was appointed to lead an expedition to discover the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic through the Arctic to the Pacific, but the expedition was lost in 1848. A number of relief expeditions revealed only scant information about the fate of Franklin and his crew, and the mystery remained for almost a century. This historical retelling is complemented by an account of the expedition led by Beattie in the 1980s, during which the remains of some crew members were found. It provided important evidence to answer questions about what ultimately killed the men and whether in desperation they resorted to cannibalism. The authors present a richly researched history of the expedition and the following relief expeditions and seamlessly merge the worlds of forensic anthropology and 19th-century history. Reading almost like a whodunit page-turner, Beattie and Geiger capture the thrill of making new scientific discoveries and finding important clues to solve a haunting mystery.
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Frozen in Time
The book was factual and engaging. It captivated me but did not discuss the finding of Captain Franklin or Captain Crozier or Captain Fitzjames or the finding of the ship either the Erubus or Terror in 2014