Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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An Arctic Expedition in Watercolor

The crew of HMS Investigator included Lieutenant Samuel Gurney Cresswell, a Royal Navy officer and painter. Here are selections from a series of watercolor paintings Cresswell made to document the expedition, its time trapped in ice, and its eventual rescue. To read more about the expedition and the discovery of the shipwreck, see "Saga of the Northwest Passage," March/April 2012.  

  • HMS Investigator approaching what is now known as Banks Island
  • HMS Investigator trapped in the ice at Mercy Bay on Banks Island
  • The first discovery of land on the HMS Investigator expedition
  • A night view of HMS Investigator trapped in ice at Mercy Bay
  • HMS Investigator navigating narrow channels between ice floes
  • View of Melville Island from Banks Island, across the Northwest Passage
  • A sled party departs the trapped HMS Investigator to seek rescue and provisions
  • A sled party traverses hummocky ice in search of rescue and provisions