The Antarctic Heritage Trust is proving just how eternal fruitcake can be with the unveiling of a 100-year-old specimen found in a building at Cape Adare, a peninsula in Antarctica. "It has been documented that Scott took this particular brand of cake with him at the time". The tin and the cake within were made by a company called Huntley & Palmers; the tin, though in bad shape, was still protecting the cake, which itself is still wrapped in its original paper.
After discovering the cake, conservators performed procedures to restore it, including rust removal and taking measures to stabilize the paper wrapping and tin container.
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. Deacidification of the tin label and some physical fix to the torn paper wrapper and tin label was also carried out.
While its tin was rusted the cake inside seemed fine
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. "It [the fruitcake] is an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favourite item on modern trips to the ice", she said.
They are the first buildings constructed in Antarctica and are set to undergo conservation work by Antarctic Heritage Trust workers.
The shelter was built in 1899 during a Norwegian expedition, but it's thought that the fruitcake was brought to Cape Adare in 1911 by Robert Falcon Scott's expedition party. The artefacts be returned to the huts once they are restored to comply with the site's status as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA).