Although research continues and the mysteries of frigid Antarctica are still being unlocked, a recent blast from the past is revealing what a nearly century-old expedition to the continent looked like.
Negatives from Capt. Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition base at Cape Evans on Ross Island were found in photographer Herbert Ponting’s darkroom, though it’s unclear if he was the photographer of these negatives. Preserved by New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust, these 22 cellulose nitrate negatives were removed and restored earlier this year.
Specifically, the negatives show Ernest Shackleton’s Ross Island Sea Party from 1914 to 1917, the news release about the images says. Shackleton hosted this third expedition to the Antarctic after Capt. Scott had died on the return trip of the previous expedition.
According to the BBC, the ship on this expedition sank. Shackleton’s crew abandoned the vessel and managed to live on ice for several months before a full rescue was completed after a portion of the crew had set off to find help. No lives were lost.
The restoration process of the negatives, some of which were damaged, involved separating and cleaning the cellulose nitrate layers. They were viewed with a Lanovia pre-press scanner and preserved digitally, according to the news release.
“It’s an exciting find and we are delighted to see them exposed after a century. It’s testament to the dedication and precision of our conservation teams’ efforts to save Scott’s Cape Evans hut,” Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Executive Director Nigel Watson said in a statement.
Check out more of the photos on the Antarctic Heritage Trust website.