Friday, August 11, 2017

100-Year Old Fruit Cake Belonging to Robert Falcon Scott Found in the Antarctic

The Antarctic Heritage Trust continues to unearth some interesting artifacts on the frozen continent. In the past, they have discovered Shakleton's whiskey, a notebook belonging to a photographer who accompanied Robert Falcon Scott on his Terra Nova expedition, and countless other important historical items from the huts of Scott and Shackleton that the organization helped restore. Now, you can add one more unique find to that list, as researchers have uncovered a 100-year old fruit cake that is believed to have belonged to Scott as well.

The cake was found still wrapped in paper and locked away inside an original tin carrying case. It was made by a company called Huntley & Palmers, which is a brand that Scott was known to have taken with him on his ill-fated Terra Nova expedition, which lasted from 1910-1913, and ended with the famous explorer and his team losing his life on the return journey from the South Pole.

According to the report from the AHT, the tin that contained the cake was in poor condition when it was found. It had to be treated with rust removal and chemical stabilization before being handled, with further work done on the exterior of the can as well as the paper inside. Surprisingly however, the cake itself was said to be in "excellent condition."

The fruit cake was a favorite treat amongst Antarctic explorers, who not only found it tasty but also high in calories to help fuel their travels across the ice. This particular item was found in a rather nondescript tin that is amongst the last of the artifacts that researchers are combing through from the Cape Adare hut. The AHT has been studying those items for months and the cake came as a bit of a hidden surprise as the research team began to wrap up its investigations.

The hut at Cape Adare was originally built for a prior expedition back in 1899, but Scott used it as part of his 1911 Antarctic journey as well. They were the first of their kind built on the Antarctic continent, and the AHT is now setting about restoring them. When that process is finished, all of the artifacts they have collected – including the fruit cake – will be returned to the site.

To find out more about this unusual find, read the full article from the AHT here.

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