This is called end-stage cannibalism, and it’s usually part of a last ditch effort to survive. The bones they analyzed showed signs of breakage and heating—thus, the crewmembers likely cooked them to extract the marrow. Helen Thompson writes about science and culture for Smithsonian. First, people cut flesh from bones, focusing on big muscle groups. Lead readings in hair varies along its length. Terms of Use King William Island -- to the West of Gjoa Haven . Led by Francis Crozier, Captain of the Terror, the remaining 105 crew members traveled south along King William Island toward the mainland. Franklin died on 11 June 1847. William Braine’s facial reconstruction and his exhumed body John Hartnell She's previously written for NPR, National Geographic News, Nature and others. Searchers built it in 1852-53 from the wreckage of an old whaling vessel. 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Graves of Franklin's men, Beechey Island . Recent scientific research has suggested that Braine’s body showed symptoms of tuberculosis and lead poisoning prior to his death. His ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, were beset by ice to the north of King William Island in September 1946 and remained until April 1848 when they were abandoned. Several of these ships converged off the east coast of Beechey Island, where the first relics of the expedition were found, including the graves of three crewmen. Their ships the H.M.S. It was only in the last decade that the vessels’ wrecks were finally located near King William Island, where the ships became trapped in ice. The wintering quarters were found, including a small cemetery with the burials of three seamen who had died during the overwintering. In May 1845, accomplished Arctic explorer and officer of the English Royal Navy, Sir John Franklin, was handed the reigns of an expedition that sought to locate the lucrative Northwest Passage trade route. Apparently, much of the measurement came from the hair of the bodies. Box 500 Station A Toronto, ON Canada, M5W 1E6. Rumors that the crew resorted to cannibalism have swirled around the doomed expedition since the 19th century. Give a Gift. Two expeditions between 1860 and 1869 by Charles Francis Hall, who lived among the Inuit near Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island and later at Repulse Bay on the Canadian mainland, found camps, graves, and relics on the southern coast of King William Island, but he believed none of the Franklin expedition survivors would be found among the Inuit. The Victory Point cairn note tells of the plan to leave the following day on foot to Back River, which opens on the coast of the mainland just south of King William Island. Audience Relations, CBC P.O. On September 7 2014 Erebus was finally discovered near King William Island in the eastern Queen Maud Gulf, Canada, using a remotely operated underwater vehicle. The ships were found in 2014 and 2016. King William Island -- "Kikituq" The hamlet of Gjoa Haven . Closed Captioning and Described Video is available for many CBC shows offered on CBC Gem. In 2018, archaeological investigations on King William Island led to the rediscovery of the grave of a member of the 1845 Franklin expedition first re… Erebus and the H.M.S. The man who was telling the story said there was a flat stone and he could tell the stone was hollow.". Continue After viewing the graves, first discovered in 1850, passengers hiked slightly more than one kilometer along the shore to check out Northumberland House. Knife marks adorned the bones, backing up those early accounts. Those three bodies remain buried on Beechey Island to this day. Fragments of clothing recovered from the Beechey Island graves of John Hartnell, John Torrington and William Braine, who died of disease during the first year of the Franklin expedition, during the winter of 1845-46. or Intense searches in the 1850s shed light on the fate of the expedition. Given that other expedition graves have been found on land, Kamookak believes Franklin's is there too. Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. Miraculously, Erebus was found exactly where the Inuits had told John Rae it would be in 1854. The graves on Beechey Island ... (one important member of his Beechey Island visit was with me on my third visit to King William Island). Ships' location. And now, a new analysis of 35 bones by anthropologists Simon Mays and Owen Beattie suggests that the men did indeed eat one another. Interior of a large snow-house, Gjoa Haven . In May 1869, Hall searched for the graves of two white men discovered by Inuit at a place known as Set-tee-u-me-nun, on the south shore of King William Island between Booth Point and the Peffer River. His corpse was found to be in the worst condition among the Beechey Island bodies, having been gnawed at by rats before burial. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Privacy Statement Kamookak relates two stories passed down through generations that may offer tantalizing clues. Searchers in the northern reaches of King William Island found a rock cairn with a tin canister inside, which held a note with two messages in different hands. Hills on Cornwallis Island above Resolute Bay Little by little, the Franklin story is coming together.Â. Though the expedition had plenty of food aboard, the men mysteriously abandoned those provisions to hike inland along the Back River in search of a Hudson Bay Company trading post, writes Ghose. 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