An Inuit arrow made from salvaged material from the Franklin Expedition.

An Inuit arrow made from salvaged material from the 1845 British Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The arrow has an elliptical head with a long tang. This is made from sheet copper, hammered out the make the head and folded over to make the tang. The tang is lashed to the wooden shaft with sinew. The arrow retains its flight feathers also attached with sinew.

The arrow was bartered from a group of Inuit by Captain F. L. McClintock's sledge team on 3 March 1859 near Cape Victoria, Boothia Peninsula. Here the sledge team met about 45 Inuit who bartered relics in exchange for knives, files, scissors, beads &c... McClintock recorded in the Appendix 'Some bows and arrows, in which wood, iron or copper has been used in the construction - of no other interest [...] Bows and arrows were readily exchanged for knives.' [McClintock, The Voyage of the Fox (1859), p369-370].

The arrow shaft has (5) in white paint in it, indicating it was displayed at the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, 'Case 5, No. 5. Three arrows'. The item is shown in - 'Stereoscopic slides of the relics of Sir John Franklin's Expedition' photographed by Lieutenant Cheyne RN, at the United Services Museum, Whitehall, No. 10 (Below the adapted surgeon's scalpel). It was shown in an engraving in 'The Illustrated London News' 15 October 1859 p. 367.

Object Details

ID: AAA2108
Collection: World Cultures; Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Arrow
Display location: Display - Polar Worlds Gallery
Creator: Unknown
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, McClintock, 1857-1859
Vessels: Fox (1855)
Date made: 1848-1859
Exhibition: North-West Passage
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: 571 x 19 mm

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