Conservators discovered a frozen fruitcake on Cape Adare, Antarctic, left 106 years ago by the team of the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott in the oldest building on the continent.
The cake was discovered in a hut built by Norwegian explorer Carsten Borchgrevink’s team in 1899, and used by Capt Scott in 1911 during his Terra Nova expedition. The polar pioneer was said to be fond of this particular cake, made by the British biscuit company Huntley & Palmers. Although the tin was rusted, the team of New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust said the cake was in excellent condition and smelled edible. Researchers state that living and working in Antarctica tends to lead to a craving for high-fat, high-sugar food, and fruitcake fits the bill nicely, not to mention going very well with a cup of tea.
Scott’s expedition successfully reached the South Pole, only to find a Norwegian team had beaten them to it by 33 days. Scott and four of his team died on their way back to base. The hut where the cake was found is undergoing conservation since May 2016 and workers have discovered some 1500 artefacts in it so far. These include tools and clothing, and some “badly deteriorated” meat and fish, and “rather nice-looking” jams.
(after Press Association, Antarctic Heritage Trust & BBC News)