Treasure-Trove of Century-Old Negatives Found in Antarctica
The Trust’s Executive Director Nigel Watson notes, “It’s an exciting find and we are delighted to see them exposed after a century.” While the identity of the photographer remains unknown, most of the damage to the negatives was confined to their edges and the conservators were able to almost completely restore the images.
The Ross sea party was part of Sir Ernest Shakleton’s famous 1914–1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and its goal was to create a series of supply depots along the polar route established by earlier expeditions. The main party, under Shakleton, was to land on the opposite coast of Antarctica and traverse the continent via the South Pole to the Ross Sea.
Unfortunately, Shackleton’s ship the Endurance was crushed by sea ice and his transcontinental march never took place. Thus, the Ross Sea party’s supply depots were never needed. Shackleton did eventually lead most of his team to safety (three men perished).
The recovered negatives were linked to the Sea Ross Party because they include two images of the team's chief scientist Alexander Stevens. You can read more and view the images here: www.nzaht.org/AHT/antarctic-photos. The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust is a non-profit organization responsible for the conservation of five historic sites in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica.