A well preserved 100-year-old fruitcake, still wrapped in paper and encased in the remains of a tin, has been found along with other artefacts at Cape Adare in Antarctica.
A well preserved 100-year-old fruitcake, still wrapped in paper and encased in the remains of a tin, has been found along with other artefacts at Cape Adare in Antarctica. Made by Huntley and Palmers, the cake probably dates to the Cape Adare-based Northern Party of Scott’s Terra Nova expedition – which went on from 1910 to 1913 – as it has been documented that Scott took this particular brand of cake with him at that time, said researchers from the Antarctic Heritage Trust in the UK. Although the tin was in poor condition, the cake itself looked and smelt (almost) edible, they said.
Conservation treatment involved rust removal, chemical stabilisation and coating of the tin remnants. De-acidification of the tin label and some physical repair to the torn paper wrapper and tin label was also carried out. The cake itself was in excellent condition, researchers said. “With just two weeks to go on the conservation of the Cape Adare artefacts, finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise,” said Lizzie Meek, Programme Manager-Artefacts at the Antarctic Heritage Trust. “It is an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favourite item on modern trips to the Ice,” Meek added. A team of four conservators have been working in the Canterbury Museum lab in New Zealand on the conservation of Antarctic artefacts from Cape Adare. The team recently finished the large project, conserving almost 1,500 artefacts.