ARTIFACTS BACKGROUNDER - HMS Erebus 2018

Backgrounder

1. Pitcher

English brown salt glaze stoneware

This pitcher or large jug was used for pouring liquids, such as water. It was discovered in one of the officers’ cabins, on the lower deck.


2. 3 Block Sheaves
Copper alloy

Three sheaves or wheels were found together on the fore, starboard side of the upper deck. These were used in some of the numerous wooden and metal pulley blocks used in running rigging. At least one of them is marked with a broad arrow.


3. Block with shackle

Copper Alloy

This high-quality block fitted with an integrated shackle and split pin was found on the upper deck. Inscriptions that are not completely legible - possibly “6⅓” and “C[PR]N” - would refer to the regulation size of the block in inches, and its maker.


4. Artificial Horizon Roof

Copper alloy, glass

This copper alloy frame with two fitted glass panes was used in conjunction with a sextant to determine latitude when the horizon was obscured, for example by ridges of sea ice. This roof goes over a tray in which mercury would be poured, so as to act as a mirror. The object was discovered in an officer’s cabin, on the lower deck.


5. Nail

Copper alloy

This small forged nail has a square shank and a square flat head. It was probably used to affix layers of upper deck planking together. The artefact, marked with a broad arrow, was found on one of the upper deck beams.


6. Belaying Pin

Copper alloy (bronze?)

Belaying pins were used to tie the various ropes of the rigging, such as those used to control the sails. The use of bronze instead of wood is an indication of the quality of the equipment used for the Franklin expedition. This broken example was found on the upper deck. Its handle has snapped off.

                                                 

7. Fearnought

Wool (?)

This type of (tarred) felt was placed in between layers of upper deck planking to waterproof the vessel. Impressions of planks seams and butt ends, as well as nails are visible on the sample.

*All copyright of the images of the Artifacts belongs to Parks Canada.*

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