A Century-Old Roll of Undeveloped Film Was Just Found in Antarctica

A century-old set of negatives was found in an Antarctic supply hut

100 year old explorer photo
The Shackleton expedition's scientist, Alexander Stevens, stands on one of the team's ships, the Aurora. New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust via PetaPixel

In March, 1912, Robert Falcon Scott and what was left of his crew fell to the icy harshness of Antarctica, dying on their way back to the coast after their failed bid to be the first team to reach the South Pole. Just a few years later a second English team, led by Ernest Shackleton, set out for the southern continent. Shackleton's goal was not the South Pole, but the first full crossing of the Antarctic continent.

In support of Shackleton's expedition, a secondary team had worked its way across the opposite side of the continent from where Shackleton would start his quest, setting up supply depots. In some cases, the supplies were stashed in some of the very same depots used by Robert Scott and his team. Among the men that made up the support team was a photographer, Arnold Patrick Spencer-Smith. In an amazing discovery, Imaging Resource reports, a team of researchers studying one of these century-old supply huts has turned up an undeveloped roll of film—images possibly captured by Spencer-Smith

The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust, who found the roll of film frozen in a block of ice, has painstakingly restored the film negatives, giving a new look at the expedition that ultimately took photographer Spencer-Smith's life.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Shackleton Probably Never Took Out an Ad Seeking Men for a Hazardous Journey
Tasting Shackleton’s Whisky
Public for the First Time: A Last Letter from Dying Antarctic Explorer Captain Scott

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