The dessert was found in a tin box. Apparently, it “dates back to Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition.” That was back in 1910 which means, two world wars later and this thing is still here.
This finding was not by accident. It seems that conservators at the New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust have been preserving artifacts found at Cape Adare since May 2016. They have already found 1,500 artifacts.
“With just two weeks to go on the conservation of the Cape Adare artifacts, finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise,” AHT program manager Lizzie Meek said in a statement. “It’s an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favorite item on modern trips to the Ice.”
Yes, “ideal” because only when you’re desperately hungry and on the verge of death would you eat a piece of fruitcake.
For starters, there was another team which reached the South Pole before them. Scott and his team reached the South Pole on the 17 of January 1912. There, they learned that another team — a Norwegian one led by Roald Amundsen — had arrived there 34 days before.
So, yeh, Scott’s team did not survive the expedition. That damn fruitcake did, however. And 100 years later people are conserving it so in another 100 years people can bash their head against the wall because cockroaches and fruitcake are the only things which can survive ANYTHING.
What conservators are going to do now is add stabilizing chemicals to the tin and the fruitcake. This way, both can remain in their original form for preservation. But even without the chemicals, conservators have described the cake as being in “excellent condition.”