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100-year-old notebook from Scott's last Antarctic expedition found frozen in ice

By Ralph Ellis, CNN
updated 10:40 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
  • Notebook of photographer George Murray Levick found in the ice
  • New Zealand's Antarctic Heritage Trust conserved the notebook
  • It provides information about many photos taken of Robert Scott's expedition
  • Scott was a British explorer during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration

(CNN) -- Explorer Robert Falcon Scott died in 1912 while crossing Antarctica, but his story lives on in artifacts that continue to be discovered on the frozen continent at the bottom of the world.

The most recent find: a century-old photographer's notebook in the ice at one of Scott's expedition bases in Antarctica.

The notebook belonged to George Murray Levick, a surgeon and photographer who was part of Scott's 1910-13 expedition. It contains pencil notes about photos he took in 1911 at Cape Adare.

"It's an exciting find," said Nigel Watson, director of the Antarctic Heritage Trust. "The notebook is a missing part of the official expedition record. After spending seven years conserving Scott's last expedition building and collection, we are delighted to still be finding new artifacts."

The notebook was found in January 2013 at another Scott camp, the Cape Evans base, after the summer snow melt around a building exposed it, said Paula Granger, communications manager for the trust.

Notebook painstakingly conserved

The notebook was found in January 2013 after the summer snow melt exposed it.  The notebook was found in January 2013 after the summer snow melt exposed it.
The notebook was found in January 2013 after the summer snow melt exposed it.The notebook was found in January 2013 after the summer snow melt exposed it.

After 100 years in the ice, the notebook's binding had dissolved, and the pages were stuck together.

The trust hired Aline Leclercq, a paper conservator, to separate and clean the pages, which were digitally recorded. The notebook was rebuilt and sewn back together using cover remnants, the trust said.

The remarks in the notebook refer to photos now held by the Scott Polar Research Institute.

"You can marry up what he's written down with the pictures," Granger said.

Once the notebook was conserved, it was returned to Antarctica, Granger said. It's one of 11,000 artifacts at Cape Evans.

Scott died in March 1912

Scott was a British explorer who became famous during what historians call the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. He arrived at the South Pole in January 1912 to discover that his rival, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, had beaten him to the spot by an estimated 33 days.

Scott and several comrades died in March 1912 during the return journey.

The trust said Levick was a member of a group of six men called the Northern Party, which spent the summer at Cape Adare but survived the 1912 winter in a snow cave before going to Cape Evans.

In December, New Zealand's Antarctic Heritage Trust reported finding 100-year-old negatives in one of Scott's huts. The photos were taken during Ernest Shackleton's 1914-17 Ross Sea Party, another failed exploration whose members were forced to live in Scott's hut after their ship blew out to sea.

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