Date: 18 September 2012
Wind Speed: 30 knots
Temp with wind chill: -45C
Some of my favourite artefacts at Captain Scott’s Terra Nova base at Cape Evans have always been the barrels full of nails resting in the scoria behind the base. Over the years the barrels themselves have deteriorated to the point of having almost disappeared entirely, while the nails inside them have corroded together into an unlikely solid mass resembling some strange sort of sub-atomic particle. Imagine my delight, then, when I discovered a similar container of nails, albeit on a much smaller scale, amongst a series of tins I have been conserving at Scott Base.
Detail, square cut nails © AHT/Jana
The tin in question appeared similar to dozens of others I was preparing to treat, until I picked it up and its excessive weight hinted that something was different about it. The nails inside are fused together into a lump just like those at Cape Evans, though they are much smaller (only 2 cm long) and in worse condition, making it impossible to tell what type of nails they were, or what era they might be from. Despite their mysterious origin, I still enjoy the aesthetics of their spiky, urchin-esque form, and look forward to once again admiring their larger cousins out at Cape Evans when we travel out there in the coming days.