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The Franklin Expedition

Mission Erebus and Terror 2015: Artifact Gallery 8

  • Window glass fragment (1 of 2)

    Glass fragment A glass fragment recovered from HMS Erebus.
    © Parks Canada / Thierry Boyer

    What is it? This is a fragment of window glass, probably from the stern windows of Sir John Franklin’s cabin (rear of the ship).

    What is it made from? This 0.45-cm-thick glass shows some surface scratches and air bubble imperfections that were common in old glass. These imperfections reveal the limitations of the production process of that period.

    What was it used for? Windows were an important source of natural light for the captain’s cabin. There were four spanning the stern of the ship: two on the port side and two on the starboard side. This is called the stern gallery.

  • Window glass fragment (2 of 2)

    Historical illustration of Si John Franklin’s captain cabin on HMS Erebus Here’s what it looked like in the captain’s cabin of HMS Erebus in 1845. Historical illustrations such as this one are especially useful in archaeology in that they help to tell the story of sites and artifacts.
    © Illustrated London News

    Where was it found? It was found at the stern end of the wreck where the stern gallery was located. The stern of the wreck suffered extensive damage and most of the stern gallery has collapsed to the seafloor below.

    What makes it special? The captain’s cabin enjoyed more comfortable surroundings and natural light than the rest of the ship. The glass artifact is an example of a means of letting natural light filter inside the ship that complements the deck illuminators already recovered from the wreck. Illuminators and a skylight, that is no longer intact, also lit the captain's cabin during the daytime. At nighttime, or during the long, dark Arctic winters, oil lamps and candles would have provided lighting.

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (PDF, 706 Kb)

Inuinnaqtun (PDF, 705 Kb)

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