Saturday, July 10, 2010

Review: Buried in Ice

Buried in Ice: The Mystery of a Lost Arctic Expedition (Time Quest Book)
Owen Beattie
Scholastic (1992), Library Binding, 64 pages

Owen Beattie is a professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton. In this book we can read his researches in Beechey Island, a remote island in the Canadian Arctic. In this island there are three graves of sailors who joined the last and lost Arctic Expedition of John Franklin.

Some chapters of this book are fictionalized: Beattie tells the start and early months of the expedition through the voice of John Torrington , one of the corpse buried in the graves.
In the last chapter there are some considerations of Beattie about the reason of this early deaths of the crew of Franklin’s Expedition. Examining the bones of the sailors and some tins of food still on that island, Beattie thinks that the main but non only cause of death was the lead used to seal the tins. The lead killed this young people and led to the failure of the entire expedition, because most of the crew died of starvation , although Beattie discovers knife-cut marks on some bones meaning possibility of cannibalism among the crew.

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