The quest to discover and navigate the Northwest Passage long enticed explorers and politicians throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The Northwest Passage is a treacherous sea-route through the Arctic Ocean. It was seen as a potential trade route and not successfully navigated until the early 20th century.
This month’s Archaeology Magazine highlights the dangers of the sea journey and the ill-fated voyage by the HMS Investigator, an expedition led by Robert McClure that was abandoned in 1853 after it was irretrievably trapped in the ice. The ship was rediscovered in 2010 and is subject to investigation and excavation by nautical archaeologists.
Due to the environment and frigid waters, the dangers posed to archaeologists are unique. You can read more about their endeavors and what they have discovered int he 2011 field season in this article: “The Saga of the Northwest Passage.”