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HMS Erebus Bell Recovered From Franklin Expedition Ship (VIDEO)

11/06/2014 02:57 EST | Updated 01/06/2015 05:59 EST
OTTAWA - A brass bell from HMS Erebus, one of the two doomed ships from the Franklin expedition that came in search of the Northwest Passage, is now in the hands of scientists in Ottawa.

Sealed in a fresh-water filled glass container, the iconic bell was unveiled today by Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

The bell was found in mid-September, shortly after the Erebus was discovered at the bottom of the ocean.

While corroded on the inside, there are clear visible markings on the outside of the bell, including the year 1845 and an arrow symbol signifying that the bell was the property of the British Royal Navy.

The Erebus, on which it's believed that Sir John Franklin died, was lost some 168 years ago.

Parks Canada chief underwater archaeologist Marc-Andre Bernier says several other artifacts were found around the site, but have been left there until dive teams can resume their inspection of the sunken vessel again next year.

Parks Canada scientists say they need to carefully clean the bell to remove all traces of sea salt from its surface.

Only then, they say, can any other historical clues from the artifact be revealed.

The respective crews of the Erebus and its companion, HMS Terror, perished after the ships went missing in the mid-1800s.

Bernier says it's believed the ships became locked in sea ice and eventually sank as their wooden hulls became waterlogged and cracked apart.

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