POLITICS
09/09/2014 07:20 EDT | Updated 11/09/2014 05:59 EST

Franklin expedition announcement expected in Ottawa

An announcement is expected in Ottawa this morning after the disclosure that two artifacts from the 19th-century Franklin expedition were found on an island in Nunavut.

A team of archeologists from Nunavut found an iron fitting from a Royal Navy ship, "identified as part of a boat-launching davit, and bearing two broad arrows," on an island in the southern search area, the territory's government said.

A wooden object, "possibly a plug for a deck hawse, the iron pipe through which the ship’s chain cable would descend into the chain locker below," was also found.

"The iron fitting was lying on the shore, adjacent to a rock, a large rock, and the wooden artifact was a bit farther away, a bit farther from the shoreline," archeologist Doug Stenton told CBC News.

Stenton headed a three-member Nunavut team that found the objects on an island in the Queen Maud Gulf near Nunavut's King William Island on Sept. 1.

The searchers say it's the first such artifact found in modern times.

The question is whether these discoveries bring the project closer to finding more evidence of what happened to the Franklin expedition.

"I think absolutely it takes us closer," said CBC Radio's David Common, who has covered the search in the past.

"It has been … a personal priority, a personal interest for the prime minister. And that’s in part why we see so many more ships this year than in years past."

The two ships of the Franklin expedition disappeared during an 1845 search for the Northwest Passage. They were the subject of many searches throughout the 19th century, but the mystery of what happened to John Franklin and his men has never been solved.

The expedition has been the subject of songs, poems and novels ever since.

In 1845, Sir John Franklin and 128 sailors embarked from England to find the Northwest Passage aboard the ships Erebus and Terror.

Search parties later recorded Inuit testimony that claimed one ship sank in deep water west of King William Island, and one ship went perhaps as far south as Queen Maud Gulf or into Wilmot and Crampton Bay.