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Parks Canada 2010 Arctic Surveys

HMS Investigator and McClure's Cache

The dual objectives of the 2010 Arctic archaeological survey are to locate the HMS Investigator wreck and to document and map the land sites associated with McClure's expedition and subsequent visitors to Mercy Bay. Both of these can be achieved using non-intrusive techniques and will result in a digital, three-dimensional picture of the sea and land components.

Seabotix LBV-150 remotely operated vehicle Seabotix LBV-150 remotely operated vehicle
© Ryan Harris / Parks Canada / 74M548EF

Prospecting for the HMS Investigator wreck will be conducted by Parks Canada's Underwater Archaeology Service and will employ side-scan sonar and remotely operated vehicles deployed from Zodiac watercraft. Simultaneously, the terrestrial archaeology team comprised of Parks Canada, Inuvialuit, and University of Western Ontario personnel will use digital photography, optical survey instruments, and high-grade GPS to map the depot and other remains. A magnetometer and metal-detector will also be used by the land team to search for subsurface features and metal artefacts left at the depot. Time permitting, the survey area on the land and water side will be extended to search for evidence of Inuit occupation in the area immediate to the provision depot. This initial research will determine what remains of HMS Investigator and its associated sites, and help to understand how this can be used for further studies of polar exploration and European/Inuit interaction during the 19th century.

Remote-sensing towfish: Klein 3000 side-scan sonar and Marine Magnetics Seaspy magnetometer. Remote-sensing towfish: Klein 3000 side-scan sonar and Marine Magnetics Seaspy magnetometer
© Jonathan Moore / Parks Canada / 73M626EF

Air transport of the archaeological teams to Mercy Bay is being provided by the Polar Continental Shelf Program administered by Natural Resources Canada. Parks Canada has engaged also the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and Sachs Harbour Hunters and Trappers Committee to conduct community consultations and presentations. Permits have also been sought from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region's Environmental Impact Screening Committee, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Government of the Northwest Territories' Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, and the Parks Canada Research and Collection Permit System.