And yet one thing that hasn't been widely reported is that this skull, catalogued as "cranium #80," was actually not discovered recently -- indeed, though its wasn't brought back from stony shores of Erebus Bay until 2013, it had first been spotted by Barry Ranford twenty years earlier. It's the same skull that he showed to the CBC's Carol Off when she was there for a short television documentary in 1995 (you can watch her original story here)
How can I be so sure? Well, Andrew Gregg, who was the cameraman on that occasion, also took a number of still photos, including this one:
|Photograph © 1994 Andrew Gregg|
As one can see, this skull -- when rotated to an upright position as I've done in the first image above, is an exact match for Keenleyside, Stenton, and Park's "cranium #80," the same now known to be Gregory's. The indentations associated with the missing teeth are identical, and so is the shape of the distinctive injury to the right maxilla. You can even see the small circular dot or indentation just above where the nasal bones meet the frontal bone.
The other skull, the one atop the reburial, had grown quite mossy, as can be seen in another of Gregg's photos, quite a different situation from its bleach-white brother:
|© 1994 Andrew Gregg|
In 1997, the two crania on the surface, along with a nearby femur, were placed in a metal box for protection and cached on the site in a new cairn, by Ranford's friend John Harrington. Ranford himself had committed suicide the previous autumn, but Harrington was to return on at least six more occasions, continuing the search for Franklin remains that his late colleague had begun. A few years ago, John and I attended a lecture by Diana Trepkov, who did facial reconstructions of this and the other skulls found nearby. "Let's go have a look at an old friend," I'd suggested to him.