Century-old fruitcake in ‘excellent condition’ found in Antarctica

The dessert is believed to have belonged to British explorer Robert Falcon Scott

A fruitcake found at Cape Adare, Antarctica. Photograph: Antarctic Heritage Trust handout/EPA

A fruitcake found at Cape Adare, Antarctica. Photograph: Antarctic Heritage Trust handout/EPA

 

A century-old fruitcake has been discovered in Antarctica in “excellent condition” after being preserved by the continent’s sub-zero temperatures.

It was found in Cape Adare and is believed to have belonged to British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, who is better known as Scott of the Antarctic.

The tin containing the discovery had rusted, but conservators found the cake still wrapped in paper and smelling edible.

Lizzie Meek, of the New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust, said: “Finding such a perfectly-preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise.

“It’s an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favourite item on modern trips to the ice.”

A team of four conservators has been working on the conservation of artefacts from Cape Adare since last May, unearthing more than 1,500 items.

Scott’s expedition

The cake is said to have links to Scott’s expedition in the 1910s, as he was recorded as having been partial to those made by Huntley & Palmers.

Scott’s mission to the South Pole - named Terra Nova - may have ultimately been successful, but the entire party died on the way back from the Pole, with their bodies discovered some 13 months later.

PA