A 100-Year-Old Fruitcake Was Found 'Perfectly Preserved' in Antarctica

100-year-old Antarctic fruitcake looks (almost) edible

They found it inside an iron tin and wrapped in paper. It may have been an indulgence for the crew, but eating fruitcake served a practical goal, too: Such cold temperatures lead to dietary changes that the cake would have easily satisfied.

The Antarctic Heritage Trust says that the cake was in "excellent condition", and that it "looked and [smelled] (almost) edible".

A remarkably well-preserved 106-year-old fruit cake believed to have been brought with Scott's expedition to the Antarctic in 1910 has been discovered in a remote hut. But the cake itself looked and smelled fine.

Conservation treatment involved rust removal, chemical stabilisation and coating of the tin remnants.

"Deacidification of the tin label and some physical fix to the torn paper wrapper and tin label was also carried out", the Trust said.

If you need any more convincing of the worth of fruitcake, then just listen to the Trust's program manager for artifacts, Lizzie Meek: "It's an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favourite item on modern trips to the Ice". The fruitcake is one of almost 1,500 artifacts recovered from Cape Adare. The team recently finished the large project in July this year, conserving nearly 1500 artefacts.

And although Cape Adare is often visited by touring cruise ships, Meeks said it could be another hundred years before anyone comes across the fruitcake again. Conservators are now planning to conserve the huts that were built in 1899 by Norwegian Carsten Borchgrevink and used by Captain Scott in 1911. The buildings were the first in Antarctica and are the only examples left of humanity's first building on any continent.

But all objects taken from them - including the cake - must be returned after being spruced up, in accordance with rules governing the Antarctic Specially Protected Area.