December 30, 2013
Lost Photos Of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition Found In Cabin
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Undeveloped photos taken during one leg of Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition have been discovered in the hut of another polar region explorer, various media outlets reported on Sunday.
According to CNN’s Ralph Ellis, the negatives were discovered in an expedition hut used by British explorer Capt. Robert Falcon Scott during his unsuccessful 1912 attempt to become the first man to reach the South Pole.
The pictures, which were discovered by a team from New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust, “were taken during Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 Ross Sea Party, another failed exploration whose members were forced to live in Scott's hut after their ship blew out to sea,” Ellis said.
“The cellulose nitrate negatives were found clumped together in a small box in the darkroom of Herbert Ponting, Scott's expedition photographer,” he added. Officials from the Trust took the negatives back to New Zealand, where it was discovered that there were a total of 22 images, many of which were damaged.
The Ross Sea Party was tasked with leaving supplies for the second leg of Shackleton’s land crossing, explained Duncan Geere of Wired UK. Even after losing their ship, they continued to set up food and equipment stations, unaware that the expedition had already been called off.
“By the time the Aurora was able to return to rescue the men the following year, three had died, including Arnold Patrick Spencer-Smith, the party's photographer,” Geere said. The photos that were recovered likely belonged to Spencer-Smith, and showed views of Ross Island, McMurdo Sound and some of the expedition members.
Nigel Watson, executive director of the Antarctic Heritage Trust, told CNN that the pictures were “an exciting find,” adding that he and his colleagues “are delighted to see them exposed after a century.” The restored images are available for viewing on the organization’s official website.
The Antarctic Heritage Trust was also responsible for the 2010 discovery of three crates of whiskey and two crates of brandy under Shackleton’s 1908 base. Several bottles of those beverages were sent to the original distillers, where they were analyzed and the whiskey recreated. The crates were returned to their original location earlier this year.