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Fruitcake Survives 100 Years In Freezing Antarctica

12 August 2017
Fruitcake Survives 100 Years In Freezing Antarctica

A 100-year-old fruitcake has been retrieved from Antarctica, and it is described as being 'almost edible.' Though no one is going to sample a piece of this soon-to-be-ancient cake, the brick of dessert has undergone preservation efforts to keep it in good shape as a piece of exploratory history.

They think it probably belonged to British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, and since he died in 1912, that would make it well over a hundred years old. It's been documented that Scott liked this particular brand of cake.

The delicacy, made by British cake makers Huntley and Palmers, was still wrapped in paper and encased in the remains of a tin-plated iron alloy tin, the researchers at the Antarctic Heritage Trust in Christchurch said in a statement on Thursday. The Heritage Trust believes the cake dates from his endeavor, known as the Terra Nova Expedition after the supply ship.

After discovering the cake, conservators performed procedures to restore it, including rust removal and taking measures to stabilize the paper wrapping and tin container.

"Deacidification of the tin label and some physical fix to the torn paper wrapper and tin label was also carried out", the Trust said. The cake is stayed in "excellent condition".

The huts at Cape Adare were built by the Norwegian Carten Borchgrevink's expidition of 1899 but later used by the Northern Party.

Scott's team took shelter in the Cape Adare building during their expedition and left the fruitcake.

Programme Manager-Artefacts Lizzie Meek said finding such a "perfectly preserved fruitcake" in a severely corroded tin was a huge surprise. "It's an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favorite item on modern trips to the Ice".

Since 2016, a small team has been working to artifact conservation at Cape Adare and recently completed a project conserving more than 1,500 items. This will happen once the huts themselves have been restored.