Thanks to a ten-year effort by an international team of experts, the structures used by Antarctic explorers Sir Ernest Shackleton and Captain Robert Falcon Scott have been salvaged and restored to their original condition.
From 1895 to 1917, Antarctica was an enticing destination for adventurers and explorers; Scott tried to conquer the South Pole, while Shackleton hoped to cross the continent sea to sea via the pole. Their dwellings were only meant to last a few years, serving to support Scott's 1910-1913 Terra Nova trip, and the Ross Sea party, who delivered supplies in advance of Shackleton's ill-fated cross-continental sojourn. Famously, his ship, the Endurance, sank in the icy waters.
Now, a century later, dozens of experts working with the Antarctic Heritage Trust have finalized the $6.5 million effort to restore the shacks to their original condition.
CBS News reports:
The dilapidated structures, landmarks in and of themselves, also held more than 18,000 artifacts including clothing, scientific equipment and even a case of whiskey. Encased at times in ice that crushed the buildings and melt water that flooded them in the summer months, there was a real danger they - and everything they contained - would be lost to the elements.
"Anyone who has had the privilege of visiting these sites will realize they are very special," [Nigel] Watson said. "You go into them and they still filled with the objects of the original explorers, thousands upon thousands of objects - everything you might want 100 years ago if you were exploring an unknown continent at the bottom of the world."
The conservationists described it as the "world's most extreme conservation project," as they had to endure the severe conditions wrought by the frozen continent.
[ CBS News ]
Images: Antarctic Heritage Trust