Quirks and Quarks

Reconstructing the Faces of the Franklin Expedition

Two skulls belonging to victims of the ill-fated expedition have their features reconstructed.

Forensic techniques used to put flesh on bones

The skull and reconstructed face of an expedition crewmember (Douglas Stenton)
Using the same forensic artistry that is applied to missing persons cases, scientists have now reconstructed the features of two crew members from the doomed Franklin Expedition of 1845.

Research led by archaeologist Dr. Douglas Stenton - the Director of Heritage for the Government of Nunavut, and a key member of the team that found Franklin's ship, H.M.S. Erebus last year - has literally put faces on two skulls of crew from the expedition.

The skulls were originally located in 1859, buried, then uncovered again more recently. It is hoped that the facial reconstruction may result in family members coming forward for DNA testing, to help identify the two men.     

Paper in Polar Record
- Toronto Star story
Visions of the North blog