For the past 100 years, a box of never-before-seen nitrate negatives has been preserved in a block of ice in Antarctica. Lately, during an attempt to restore an old exploration hut, conservators of the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust have discovered that box which clearly depicts the life of Antarctic explorers back in 100 years.
Trust conservators mentioned that the box containing the negatives was probably left in British explorer Robert Falcon Scott‘s hut who established the hut to support his doomed expedition to the South Pole from 1910-1913. Scott and his men reached the South Pole, but died on the way back to home.
Later, the hut was used by the Ross Sea Party of Sir Ernest Shackleton‘s 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition after they were stranded on Ross Island when their ship, the Aurora, floated away to the sea during a massive blizzard. Three men lost their lives and later the group was finally rescued, but the box containing undeveloped negatives remained buried under frozen ice until now.
However, after discovering the box of negatives, a Wellington photography conservator carefully processed the negatives in order to reveal the historic mysteries on each frame. Although the images are slightly damaged, they represent a rare glimpse of adventurers from the past.
Nigel Watson, AHT Executive Director said, “It’s the first example that I’m aware of, of undeveloped negatives from a century ago from the Antarctic heroic era. There’s a paucity of images from that expedition.”
You can see some more images on the Trust’s website.