Century-old fruitcake found in 'almost edible' condition

By Daniel Uria  |  Aug. 12, 2017 at 2:55 PM
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Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A fruitcake more than 100 years old was recently discovered in near-edible condition by conservators in Antartica.

The New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust uncovered a rusted iron alloy tin in Cape Adare containing the fruitcake which could be at least 106 years old.

Conservators said the tin was in poor condition, but the paper wrapping was largely intact and the fruitcake nearly looked and smelled edible.

"With just two weeks to go on the conservation of the Cape Adare artefacts, finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise," Lizzie Meek of the trust said in a news release.

The trust said the fruitcake, made by Britain's Huntley and Palmers, was a favorite treat of Robert Falcon Scott and could date back to the Northern Party of his Terra Nova expedition from 1910 to 1913.

"It's an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favorite item on modern trips to the Ice," Meek said.

Although the cake survived the century well, a significant amount of work was required to treat the rest of the package.

"Conservation treatment involved rust removal, chemical stabilisation and coating of the tin remnants," the trust said. "Deacidification of the tin label and some physical repair to the torn paper wrapper and tin label was also carried out."

The trust has conserved almost 1,500 artifacts from Cape Adare since May 2016, and are beginning plans to conserve buildings in the area.

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