Researchers working with the Antarctic Heritage Trust recently discovered a fruitcake in Antarctica’s oldest hut in Cape Adare. The fruitcake was still wrapped in paper and encased in a badly damaged tin.
The Artifact is Still Edible
According to the researchers from the Antarctic Heritage Trust, the fruitcake was made by Huntley & Palmers and it was likely brought to Antarctica by British Explorer Robert Falcon Scott. The expedition took place from 1910 to 1913 and the party of explorers must have sought shelter into the hut. The hut itself was built in 1899. Unfortunately, all the members of the party died on their way back to the base.
Lizzie Meek, the conservation manager for the artifacts, notes that the fruitcake was a favorite item of the English society at the beginning of the 20th century. She added:
It’s an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favorite item on modern trips to the Ice.
In addition, the Antarctic Heritage Trust wrote in their statement that the fruitcake looks and smells edible.
The trust’s conservation program in the Antarctic region ended in July. The team managed to conserve 1,500 artifacts by removing rust and preserving the metals. This is all in an effort to drive tourism in Antarctica which is already highly in demand. Scientists reconditioned several other huts in order to tell the entire story of the age of exploration.
The Antarctic region itself is currently in danger over warnings regarding climate change. The recent calving of the Larsen C ice shelf resulted in a massive iceberg the size of Delaware which now floats into the ocean. Scientists detected the crack in the ice shelf decades ago but it seemed to have accelerated during recent years. Scientists are still debating whether this was indeed due to climate change.
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