ANTARCTIC BLOG

A selection of blogs written by our conservation team

Feb 12, 2017

Southern Cross Expedition

The Great Unwashed

Preparations for all polar explorations must be meticulous and there are a very few things that you can forget to pack for a major expedition to Antarctica and think: “Oh well, I’m sure we will get on without it.”

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Dec 13, 2016

Love's Privilege

Old News is Good News

These pages from the 1910 Lyttelton Times and The West Australian, were found in a stack of paper in the Cape Adare hut, piled onto the bed slats of one of the bunks in the main room.

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Oct 26, 2016

Scott Polar tents with Mt Erebus in the background

Antarctic Field Training (AFT)

All new arrivals at Scott Base are required to attend Antarctic Field Training. Some of the returning AHT team having done AFT over the past two years only had to do a refresher.

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Oct 25, 2016

Hillary's hut

The summer season begins

The AHT summer conservation team is here at Scott Base, and well and truly settled in for the season. We touched down on a perfect Antarctic spring day at Pegasus runway, and hitched...

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Oct 19, 2016

The sprawl of Caracas at night

A Venezuelan connection

Conservator Ciaran Lavelle mused in an earlier post Life is like a box of Chocolates about the Fry & Son’s Caracas Chocolate box and the randomness of life, and I can here...

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Oct 11, 2016

Fry's chocolate box after conservation

Life is like a box of chocolates

Do you remember Forrest Gump sitting there on his park bench sharing not only his box of chocolaty delights but also his southern philosophy about the randomness of life?

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Aug 17, 2016

Who Knows rules

The Name of the Game

This week I have been working on half a piece of card, identified only as “Game: Card” in the collection database, with no further information on what kind of game, or how to play it.

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Aug 12, 2016

The Northern Party during their Journey back to Cape Evans.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Close your eyes and imagine what a typical explorer would look like. Now imagine your explorer traveling through an Arctic or Antarctic region. What image have you drawn in...

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Aug 10, 2016

Hemmed, ready for use

Tea towels: hemmed and ready for use

20 unused tea towels from Cape Adare are currently undergoing conservation treatment. They are all of white linen material with a red border along the...

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Aug 5, 2016

Some of the personal items that Levick left behind

Why did Levick leave his personal items behind?

George Murray Levick, surgeon and zoologist on Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition (1910-1913) was a member of the Northern Party who spent the...

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Jul 20, 2016

Lime juice nodules

Lime Juice Nodules

In most cases the historic food that comes off the ice is interesting, rather than appetizing. Even if it had not been 100 years old and come from a tin covered in corrosion...

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Jul 12, 2016

the bone china tea cup after conservation

High Tea on the Icy Sea

They came from the North and they came prepared, well they came with everything they thought they needed, only stopping short of a kitchen sink. The men of the early exploration of the...

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Jul 4, 2016

Quoits

Reinvigorating a city ... and history

Conserving artefacts from the early British Antarctic expedition huts whilst actually living in Antarctica is without doubt a unique, ultimately challenging...

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Jun 27, 2016

After treatment image of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

For Better or Worcestershire Sauce

For the past weeks, as the paper conservator, I have been working on a collection of bottles of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce...

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Jun 15, 2016

the punching ball after conservation.

Fighting fit at 30 below

The men of Scott’s 1910 expedition would have been at the peak of their physical fitness on the eve of their expedition south. The harshness and physical demands of not just their sea...

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Jun 2, 2016

Levick belt

A Discovery Below Penguin Guano

Looking through the magnification lens, I take a breath through my respirator and reach for the micro spatula. The belt is encrusted with...

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May 24, 2016

Ciaran Lavelle working

Meet the team - Cape Adare artefacts conservation project

The work to conserve the artefacts from Cape Adare, the base established by Carsten Borchgrevink’s British Antarctic Expedition (Southern Cross)...

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Feb 22, 2016

Scott’s Hut Cape Evans

Favourites

During the decade of work by the Trust’s on-ice conservation teams, many personal insights have been gained into the lives of the early expeditioners. Some of the paper items from Captain ...

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Oct 28, 2015

Dogs

Dogs

While Captain RF Scott wasn’t keen on the idea of using dogs as his main means of transport to the South Pole—largely because of the cruelty and sacrifice involved—he did take a team of 35 ...

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Jun 18, 2014

Midwinter

Midwinter

Midwinter is upon us, for those in the southern hemisphere at least. For those of us in Antarctica, midwinter is traditionally a time of celebration and feasting.

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Jun 11, 2014

Shoes

Can you still tell a man by his shoes?

My grandmother, my mother and even my best friend have been heard announcing the old view that 'you can tell a man by his shoes' implying ...

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Jun 11, 2014

Wooden box

Let there be light ... and heat!

Let there be light… and heat! The flick of the switch is usually all it takes for us to enjoy a good read on the couch in a warm room on a cold winter evening. There may be a wood fire ...

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Mar 7, 2014

Blog 2

Dog Biscuits

I’ve been very fortunate since arriving on the Ice to be working in the on-site conservation laboratory at Hut Point, which is situated directly behind Scott’s Discovery Hut (1901-04).

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Feb 3, 2014

Car

Shackleton's car

When Ernest Shackleton led the British Antarctic ‘Nimrod’ Expedition 1907–09 he hoped to reach the geographic South Pole. To achieve this, he took with him dogs, ponies, and a motor car ...

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Jun 12, 2013

Pitching camp

Ross Sea Party tent

A century on, we continue to share some of the artefacts we’ve treated from Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, who were stranded for two years at Cape Evans and charged with laying depots ...

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May 27, 2013

Ross Sea Party

Ross Sea Party improvised gear

The artefacts conserved by the Trust that remain in Scott’s Cape Evans hut tell something of the harrowing ordeal endured by Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party in 1914-17.

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May 22, 2013

Pony snowshoes

Pony snowshoes

When it comes to working with historical material that is only 100 years old, most things we recognise at least by function, if not from our own lives and times, then perhaps from those of our grandparents.

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May 1, 2013

Ross Sea Party survivors

Ross Sea Party improvised clothing

A century on from the loss of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship ‘Endurance’ in the Weddell Sea, we’re looking at some of the artefacts from this ill-fated ...

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Jan 12, 2009

Stove

Cape Evans stove

While the Trust’s on-ice conservators move the artefacts from the historic expedition huts to the laboratory at New Zealand’s Scott Base in Antarctica for thawing, documentation and ...

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