Skip navigation

Antarctic conservation

2 Posts tagged with the terra_nova-base tag
2

Cape Evans Redux

Posted by Conservators Oct 9, 2012

Author: Jana

Date: 3 October 2012

Temperture: -33C

Wind Speed: 2 knots

Temp with wind chill: -35C

Sunrise: 5:35am

Sunset: 7:36pm

 

 

As Martin described in our last blog, we were recently able to make a quick trip out over the sea ice to Scott’s Terra Nova Hut at Cape Evans.   I had especially been looking forward to seeing the hut again, as three and a half years have passed since the last time I set foot inside.  In the intervening years conservators have been working diligently to reconfigure various aspects of the hut to their original layout, many artefacts have been treated, and I had been eagerly anticipating seeing all of these changes first hand. 

Terra Nova Hut.jpg

Captain Scott's hut at Cape Evans

 

Stepping into the hut is always a powerful moment: it is quite dark inside at this time of year as the windows are still covered by snow, and it takes a few moments for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.  When they do, all sorts of artefacts - bunks and boxes of foodstuffs, scientific equipment, the large table in the centre of the room –start to emerge from the dimness, standing where they did when the hut was inhabited by the explorers of Scott’s expedition.  A prescient silence also fills the hut, and there is a great sense of stillness that I find somewhat jarring – jarring because the wind outside is often howling by comparison, but also because when the hut was originally occupied, it never would have been so quiet inside. 

Biology bench.jpg

Artefacts emerge from the darkness

 

Making my way around all the little nooks in the hut, it was rewarding to see how many artefacts have been conserved and how the sense of place has been so well preserved.  I am looking forward to moving out to our work camp at the huts so we can once again spend most of our days inside this special place.

2

Nailed it!

Posted by Conservators Sep 20, 2012

Author: Jana

Date: 18 September 2012

Temperature: -24C

Wind Speed: 30 knots

Temp with wind chill: -45C

Sunrise: 07:16

Sunset: 18:34

 

 

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 C Evans.jpg

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.