Shipwrecks were a common occurrence in the 19th century, as Europeans attempted to migrant to North America. However, these shipwrecks often remain a mystery as they sink down to the bottom of our oceans and remain undiscovered. However, an interesting discovery was made this week as Parks Canada has confirmed that a group of human remains that washed up onto Canadian shores actually belonged to victims of a shipwreck from 1847.
Back in 2011, the bones of three children washed up on shore in Gaspé, Quebec. A few years later in 2016, another 18 individuals were discovered during a beach restoration in the same area, states CBC.
The bones were a mystery and many scientists were wondering exactly where they came from. The remains were sent to Parks Canada and then to researches at the Montreal University where they were studied.
The scientists behind the case told CBC that the bones were extremely fragile due to their old age and scientist had to work carefully while attempting to determine their origins. In fact, the bones were so fragile that scientists recall that as soon as they were touched they would start to crumble. But after some time, scientists were finally able to discover where these bones came from.
The scientists behind the study state that since our skeletons reflect what we eat, they were able to determine that they belonged to those who lived in a rural population where they were dependent on potatoes.
They were also able to extract data that let them discover that these skeletons were malnourished, something that was common among people who were traveling long distances on ships.
Through these facts, scientists were able to conclude that the bones came from an 1847 Carricks shipwreck. CTV News states that the ship was carrying 180 passengers when it left from Ireland during the Potato Famine.
It was recorded to sink just off the coast of Cap-des-Rosiers in Gaspé, killing as many as 150 people. It was estimated that only 48 people survived this shipwreck.
Parks Canada also told CTV that the remains of the 21 passengers that have been found will be buried near the Irish Memorial that was erected in 1900 in memory of shipwrecked passengers at Cap-des-Rosiers Beach. The ceremony will be this summer.
*Disclaimer: Photo used for illustrative purposes only.