They think it probably belonged to British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, and since he died in 1912, that would make it well over a hundred years old. "Although the tin was in poor condition, the cake itself looked and smelt (almost) edible", Antarctic Heritage Trust writes. The Heritage Trust believes the cake dates from his endeavor, known as the Terra Nova Expedition after the supply ship. While the tin had begun to deteriorate, the cake was in near-perfect condition and, according the researchers, still looked "almost edible".
Conservation treatment involved rust removal, chemical stabilisation and coating of the tin remnants. The tin's label underwent deacidification, and the paper had some minor repairs made to tears.
The fruitcake was recovered from Cape Adare, where multiple artifacts were recovered.
Image The tin containing the cake was heavily damaged. Pic Antarctic Heritage Trust
Lizzie Meek, a manager from the charity, said the cake would have been an "ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions" and is still a favourite on modern trips to the far south.
A team from the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch has recently finished a 14-month project conserving nearly 1,500 artifacts from Cape Adare.
The huts at Cape Adare were built by the Norwegian Carten Borchgrevink's expidition of 1899 but later used by the Northern Party.