Please join us Friday, February 26th, 2016 at 7:00pm in Room 132 of the Archaeology Building for our February speaker. The Saskatoon Archaeological Society is pleased to present Dr. Treena Swanston (Department of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Saskatchewan) speaking on “Lead and the Franklin Expedition: A New Perspective”. All are welcome to attend!
Treena grew up in Regina and received a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Regina. She moved to Saskatoon and worked for a number of years in the Microbiology Department at the University of Saskatchewan as a research technician. While working as a technician, she completed a BA in Archaeology. Her MA involved the analysis and relocation of a late 19th century Catholic cemetery near Battleford, Saskatchewan, and her PhD dissertation focused on the identification of a latent tuberculosis infection in the lungs of the Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi ancient individual who was recovered from a melting glacier in northern British Columbia. Treena became a postdoc in the Department of Anatomy and learned how to use various beam lines at the Canadian Light Source. She is currently in a fixed-term faculty position in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Saskatchewan.
Abstract: Lead and the Franklin Expedition: A New Perspective
In 1845, Sir John Franklin and a crew of 128 men set off from England to locate the Northwest Passage. They spent the first winter at Beechey Island, where three crewmen died and were buried. In September 1846, the ships became stranded in the ice close to King William Island, and this is where the crew remained until April 1848. By this time, Franklin and 23 crew members had died. The remaining 105 individuals left the ships and started a journey south towards the mainland, but they did not survive. Previous analyses of bone and hair samples from the expedition indicate that crew members had high lead (Pb) levels, but questions remain regarding the duration of exposure, and the degree to which it may have impacted the crew. By using synchrotron light for high resolution imaging, we have the opportunity to identify the spatial patterns of Pb distribution in bone that can be compared with bone remodeling events to determine the prevalence and timing of the uptake. Our results support recent conclusions that the crew was chronically exposed to Pb prior to the expedition.