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98-year-old photo negatives discovered in Antarctica

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In 1915, an ill-fated expedition known as the Ross Sea Party took to the New Zealand side of Antarctica to establish supply depots for explorers. After their ship broke loose from the moorings, the six men were stranded and struggled to survive, spending three years on the continent before they were eventually rescued. Now, nearly a century later, a new discovery suggests the men may have left behind more than we realized.

Restoring one of the supply huts used by the party, Antarctic conservators discovered a box of 22 unprocessed cellulose nitrate negatives, believed to have been left there by the Ross Sea Party. The photographs show new views of Ross Island, McMurdo Sound, and two new pictures of the expedition's chief scientist Alexander Stevens, which linked them to the expedition. More surprising after all that time in the ice, most of the damage to the photos is confined to the edges, and the conservators were able to achieve a near-complete restoration of the images. The restored photos can be seen in full at the Antarctic Heritage Trust website.