Skip navigation
0
Author: John
Date: 13 December 2011
Temperature: -7.2°C
Wind Speed: 5 knots
Temp with wind chill: °C
Sunrise: N/A
Sunset: N/A
Part of the Antarctic Heritage Trust conservation programmme is to conserve artefacts from Scott’s Terra Nova Hut over the winter. Artefacts are carefully packed and transported back to Scott Base where a team of four conservators will work on the artefacts in a specially provided conservation laboratory for return the following summer. Where the early explorers transported their supplies man hauling sledges, we use plastic cubers on sledges towed behind Hagglunds (tracked vehicles). The trip from Cape Evans back to Scott Base  is 25 km, travelling at 10 kph to ensure safe travelling for sometimes fragile artefacts.
Image 2.jpg
Loading artefacts in cubers on sledge © AHT/John
Transporting artefacts to Scott Base.jpg
Approaching Scott Base over the Sea Ice © AHT/John
0

Full circle

Posted by Conservators Dec 22, 2011

Author: Lizzie Meek
Date: 1 December 2011
Temperature: -1.4 oC
Wind Speed: 3 Kts
Temp with wind chill: C
Sunrise: N/A
Sunset N/A


LM blog image 1 resized.jpg
Cape Evans and snow © AHT/Lizzie

 

During the months of January-October whilst working in the AHT offices in Christchurch, I am often emailed queries and photographs (or as I like to think of them ‘presents’) relating to artefacts the conservators are working on at Scott Base over the winter months. But I still only see a small percentage of the some 1300 artefacts the team has handled during that time.
Now, here we are at Cape Evans in December, it’s snowing outside, and all of a sudden it feels like Christmas: John and I are unwrapping hundreds of objects to return them to their hut locations.


LM blog image 2 resized.jpg

A woollen jersey returned to Cape Evans this season © AHT/Lizzie

 

You get a very unique and interesting perspective on life in Antarctica 100 years ago when you see about 60 different pairs of socks in a row, some hand knitted, some machine-made, most of them darned or patched. We’ve been commenting on the limited colour palette of brown, grey, khaki, black and dark blue, and get quite excited by small flashes of bright colour. I like to think they took their polka dot Sunday socks home with them on the ship.

 

LM blog image 3 resized.jpg

A Wolsey sock on Day’s bunk © AHT/Lizzie

 

There’s a great sense of completion as we see objects returned to their place in the hut, with form and detail more fully revealed, but without removing the signs of age and use from the heroic era. So to the winter conservators, Sarah, Martin, Julie and Jane, thank you for your skill and hard work, and for my early Christmas presents!

0

Author: Martin

20 November  2011
Temperature: -1.5 degree C
Wind Speed: 0 knots
Temp with wind chill: -1.5 degree C
Sunrise: n/a
Sunset n/a

 

 

130 boxes and a year later, I am back at Cape Royds returning to the north wall all of the food storage boxes I excavated last summer and then conserved over winter at Scott Base.

 

MW Image 1_Back again.jpg

Back again © AHT

 

Beautiful weather and little wind makes it even more enjoyable and satisfying to look at them again, back in their own environment. Ernest Shackleton's men used these boxes to build pony stables and even a garage for the first motor car in Antarctica. Never intended to last for a hundred years, they were in desperate need of treatment and I am confident they will now last for many more years to tell such an important part of the history of the early explorers.

Up to 2000 stores boxes were loaded on the expedition ship Nimrod and it is always fascinating to see the countless creative ways they have been used in and around the hut.  Apart from being building blocks, they have supported bed frames, served as shelves and wall cladding and even provided the cover for the first ever book printed in Antarctica, The Aurora Australis.

 

All I am left wondering now is what my colleagues in another hundred years might do with them.

 

Martin working on a box 1 resized.jpg
  Martin working on boxes © AHT

0

Stormy Weather

Posted by Conservators Dec 8, 2011

Author: John
Date: 27 November 2011
Temperature: -2.1oC
Wind Speed: 8.5Kts
Temp with wind chill: -10oC
Sunrise: N/A
Sunset N/A


One of the aspects of Antarctica that fascinates me as a relative newcomer is the changeability of the weather conditions, sometimes over periods of less than an hour.


After spending two weeks working at Shackleton’s Nimrod Hut at Cape Royds, our camp transfer by helicopter to Scott’s Terra Nova Hut at Cape Evans was disrupted by wind and low visibility, and our team was split in half for 24 hours, Monday and Tuesday.


The Icebreaker, Kapitan Khlebnikov, kindly offered the team some showers, but even that was disrupted by changeable weather and low visibility. We all managed to have our showers though, and that was bliss after two and a half weeks without!


On Thursday and Friday we had very strong winds that make working outside at Cape Evans challenging, and sleeping ‘interesting’ with the wind noise and the tents flapping. Interestingly, the Scott Polar Tent double walled design has changed little from the original as used by Scott and has proved itself over the years well able to withstand strong winds.  I am very happy about that!

 

JK Stormy morning Saturday.jpg

Stormy Morning, Saturday. © AHT/ John

 

Yesterday morning things calmed down again, with only a slight breeze blowing.

JK After the storm Sunday.jpg

After the Storm, Sunday. © AHT/ John

 

This Sunday evening the wind is picking up again with the weather forecast to turn.


The transitions from wind and whiteout conditions (like being inside a ping-pong ball) to crystal calm and peaceful can sometimes be quite startling.

0

Author: John

Date: 13 November 2011
Temperature: -3.20C
Wind Speed: 12.5 Knots
Temp with wind chill: -6.7oC
Sunrise: None, the sun is always up in the sky in Antarctica at this time of the year.
Sunset None.

 

 

While undertaking conservation work at Shackleton’s Nimrod Hut at Cape Royds, Ross Island, Antarctica, I noticed this example of the expedition making do with whatever spare materials that were at hand. It highlighted for me the remoteness of the location, the distance from resupply sources, and the resourcefulness of the expedition members, This makeshift hoe was made from a spare mattock handle with part of a broken shoe last carefully and securely lashed to the end with rope. To tension the lashing a disused metal file was driven under the lashing. For some reason, this resourcefulness appealed to me.

JK Image 1 Improvised hoe.jpg

Improvised hoe © AHT/John.

JK Image 2  Detail of last and lashing method.jpg
Detail of last and lashing method © AHT/John.