100-year-old notebook found encased in Antarctic ice is part of Robert Scott's expedition team
Robert Scott was a British explorer who died with his several of his companions on his second expedition to the Antarctic due to starvation, exhaustion and the extremely cold weather. More than 100 years after his death, an artifact from his ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition of 1910-1913 has emerged.
In a statement released on Oct. 20, New Zealand's Antarctic Heritage Trust said that a notebook from Scott's last expedition was discovered trapped in ice in a hut.
Based on the texts written on the opening pages, the newly found notebook was owned by George Murray Levick, a zoologist, surgeon and photographer who was part of Scott's 1910-1913 voyage to the Antarctic and one of the six members of the expedition's Northern Party.
Upon reaching the Antarctic, the Terra Nova expedition split into two groups. Scott's party reached the South Pole on Jan. 17, 1912.
Levick's group, on the other hand, travelled along the coast conducting scientific observations. Pack ice, however, prevented their ship from picking them up so Levick along with the other members of their group overwintered in an ice cave on Inexpressible Island. Unlike Scott and his contingent, Levick's group survived by eating local wildlife such as seals and penguins.
Levick's newly discovered photography notebook "Wellcome Photographic Exposure Record and Dairy 1910" was left behind at the 1911 Terra Nova base at Cape Evans, where it was discovered outside of a hut by the Trust's conservationist specialists during last year's summer melt after being hidden for more than a century.
The notebook has entries that provide details on the photographs that Levick had taken in 1911 at Cape Adare such as the dates they were taken, the subjects and exposure details. The Trust said that the entries were written before the group had to contend with harsh weather conditions and got stranded on Inexpressible Island.
"It's an exciting find. The notebook is a missing part of the official expedition record," said Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson. "After spending seven years conserving Scott's last expedition building and collection, we are delighted to still be finding new artefacts (sic)."
A century's worth of damage from ice and water has dissolved the bindings of Levick's notebook. The Trust said that the pages were separated and digitized before the notebook was repaired and sewn back with new binding and sent to Antarctica.