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The Underwater Archaeology Search for Franklin's Lost Vessels: HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site

Searching for the Shipwrecks

Underwater Archaeology

The Underwater Archaeology Service (UAS) is a recognized Parks Canada Centre of Expertise, bringing together archaeological and technical capability for the investigation, evaluation, and protection of Canada’s underwater cultural heritage. Over its almost fifty year history the team’s scientific divers have discovered and explored thousands of underwater archaeological sites throughout Canada. As the country’s foremost underwater archaeology team, it is best known for its work on historic shipwrecks. In this time, team members have collectively amassed tens of thousands of diving hours, have undertaken the largest underwater archaeological excavations in the country, and have developed unparalleled experience in underwater archaeology in Canada.

The UAS employs a multitude of methods and techniques, ranging from routine diving inspections to more sophisticated remote sensing surveys to comprehensive and meticulous site excavations. The team has developed particular expertise in the study of shipwrecks from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries and has cultivated a world-class proficiency in their discovery, survey, excavation and presentation to the public. The UAS works closely with other Parks Canada teams and regularly operates in remote and challenging settings along Canada’s Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts as well in the nation’s lakes, rivers and minor water bodies. Most of its work is in National Parks, National Historic Sites, and National Marine Conservation Areas, but is also called upon by provincial and territorial governments for advice.