Presented on March 1st, 2017 by Andrew Leyzack, C.L.S., Ryan Harris and Denis Hains
Although this is not their primary role and raison d’être, hydrographic surveyors are no strangers to locating shipwrecks in the due course of conducting surveys for safety and efficiency of navigation, nautical charting and seabed mapping. Likewise, Archaeologists are no strangers to imaging the seabed when conducting surveys to locate artefacts. Indeed, each use similar tools for different mandates and objectives and so it would be somewhat more than just coincidence the two disciplines might benefit one another through collaborative actions, particularly where the proposed survey area was extensive and complex logistical challenges were to be overcome.
Such collaboration, between Parks Canada, Underwater Archaeology Service (UAS) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Science – Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) was conceived, developed and executed over the past decade, resulting in over 1500 square kilometres of modern hydrographic surveys and seabed mapping which ultimately lead to the discovery of HMS Erebus in September, 2014. The context of past and modern expeditions to locate the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror will be presented along with the role of hydrographic surveying in its relevance to underwater archaeology.