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Century-Old Artifacts Uncovered At Mawson's Huts In Antarctica

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Explorers discovered numerous snow-covered artifacts at the Mawson's Huts in Antarctica. Heritage experts believe that the said items are century-old.

Ian Godfrey, the chief conservator of the Mawson's Huts Foundation says the group was able to uncover a number of personal items used by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE). The items include boxes, cans, a broom, boots and a wool balaclava.

"For me that was a highlight because it was the classic Mawson-style wool balaclava and it was in great condition," Godfrey said.

Good Early Results

A group has been sent to Cape Denison, about 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) south of Hobart, to work on the home of an AAE exploration team who set out on an expedition from 1911 to 1914.

The goal of the group now is to restore the hut to how it looked like some 100 years ago.

Field expedition leader Marty Passingham believes that his team was able to yield good results early in the mission. He said his team looks forward to removing large amounts of ice and snow so that they can expose more artifacts when the exploration mission ends in three weeks' time.

Tough Work

With the extremely cold temperature and the massive amounts of ice and snow on the field, it certainly is not a walk in the park for the restoration team. In fact, their work has been suspended three times due to blizzards. The team had no choice but to stay inside their small base camp near the subject hut.

Passingham said they prepared for the mission by ensuring that all the things they need are in place and that they have sufficient amount of food, gas and fuel that can sustain them for a number of days.

Sir Douglas Mawson

Sir Douglas Mawson was an explorer who became famous because of his lone travel across the polar ice cap. He braved the area alone after his two colleagues died.

Mawson arrived at their base in Cape Denison a couple of weeks behind the target schedule. When he reached the place, he discovered that his ship had travelled back to Australia on that same morning. Because of this, he was left to stay in Antarctica alone for one more year.

He stayed in the infamous hut that the present restoration team is now working on. Mawson left the hut in 1914.

About The Mawson's Huts Foundation

The Mawson's Huts Foundation was founded in 1997 and was supported by the federal government of Australia.

The foundation has already organized about 10 major missions to the site. The first expedition was performed from 1997 to 1998. Before this, a heritage conservation expert and an architect/photographer set out to the site during the summer to evaluate the area and formulate a detailed program plan. After a year, a 15-man team arrived to do the pioneer work for the hut.

The arrival of the first heritage specialists to the site was said to have saved the hut from imploding and being swayed into the Southern Ocean. The storage platform beneath the apex of the hut's living area which was covered with ice and snow caused the support beams of the hut to be fractured. Hence, if the building collapsed, it would certainly destroy the historic site and create irreparable damage.

Photo: AndrewJohnMitchell | Flickr

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