Hundreds of items, including ship’s provisions and a leather book, have been recovered from a shipwreck that settled on the shallow seabed off the coast of northern Canada.
Earlier this year, archaeologists set up camp on the ice above the wreck of HMS Erebus, a wooden vessel abandoned by the crew during an 1848 Arctic expedition, according to a Canadian government press release.
Several dive trips have been held at the wreck site, which was discovered in 2014, according to Canada’s parks department.
In September, 56 separate dives were held at the wreck over 11 days, giving researchers a more complete understanding of the ship, one of the “most best preserved” in the world, according to the park department.
Of particular interest to divers were the cabins of the second and third lieutenants and the steward’s pantry.
The 100-foot vessel’s pantry produced a variety of tableware, including plates, serving dishes and stoneware plates, according to CBC.
However, the most “amazing” find was a book, Ryan Harris, one of the divers, told the outlet in Canada.
“We came across a folio – a leather book cover, beautifully folded – with pages inside,” said Harris. “The quill pen is actually still inside the cover like a journal you might write it in and put it on your bedside table before you turn in.”
The recovered artifacts are owned by the Canadian government and the Inuit Heritage Trust, an organization dedicated to protecting the heritage of indigenous Canadians, the parks department said.
It was Inuit oral history that led to the discovery of the Erebus shipwreck. The search would have been “totally impractical” without traditional knowledge, said David Woodman, a researcher credited with helping to find the ship, according to the park department.
After she was abandoned in 1848, neither the crew nor the ship were seen again, leading the ill-fated voyage to achieve near-legend status during the Victorian era and later years, which according to The Spectral Arctic.
It was only in later years that it was discovered that the crew – weak, frozen and likely suffering from scurvy – had all gone astray while walking across the ice-covered water , according to a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
One study, published in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, found evidence that members of the ship’s crew resorted to cannibalism.
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