HMS Erebus Bell Recovered As Divers Visit Site Of Legendary Franklin Expedition

I'll admit I'm conflicted here. I am a fan of archeology. I really am. Archeology brings facts into play in our interpretation and understanding of history. And so I have no issues with the search for the ships of the Franklin expedition. Good on you Parks Canada.

But it's clear that this was not archeology done for the sake of understanding, it was archeology done for political purposes - the role of PM Harper makes this clear. And once you involve politics and politicians in such a direct manner then the science and the interpretations of the science become questionable. There are multiple examples of science of all sorts being used to justify questionable political and social goals - I'l leave finding them as an exercise for the student.

“The objective was not to recover artifacts, but in this case here, because of the iconic symbol that a bell has … it was decided that this object should be recovered,” Marc-Andre Bernier, chief of Parks Canada’s underwater archeology service, told the CBC.

Which leads me to question the recovery of the bell. Was there a scientific purpose for recovering the bell? To what purpose will the "iconic" nature of the bell be put? Was there some archeological context that was lost when removing the bell from its resting location.

Are we, in short, looting the site? 

I normally would not question the scientists (or, at least, not this much). I have no doubt that they are all ethical people. But questions have to be asked because of the politicization of the  whole mission. 

The science, much like the bell, is tarnished. Which is a shame. It's not the way science should be done.