Century Old Images Discovered at Historic Antarctic Base

PHOTO: Alexander Stevens is photographed on the deck of the Aurora in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.
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With much of the world's attention focused on a modern research ship trapped in the Antarctic ice, photo negatives of early Antartic explorers have emerged from nearly a century ago.

The Antarctic Heritage Trust, based in New Zealand, found the negatives at an expedition base near the continent's Cape Evans, in the darkroom of the photographer Herbert Ponting. Even though the film was damaged, the pictures were salvageable and are now available on its website.

The darkroom is part of Scott's Hut, built by Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott. But the photos themselves depict the Ross Sea Party, an offshoot of Ernest Shackleton's journey across the continent. Though Shackleton isn't seen in the photos, his chief scientist, Alexander Stevens, is seen on the deck of the ship SY Aurora. The photographer has not been identified.

"It's an exciting find and we are delighted to see them exposed after a century," said Nigel Watson, the Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director, in a statement. "It's testament to the dedication and precision of our conservation teams' efforts to save Scott's Cape Evans hut."

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