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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fancy some century-old Butter?

WELLINGTON (AFP) - – Two blocks of butter have been found intact after nearly a century in an Antarctic hut used by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott on his doomed 1910-12 expedition, a report said.

Television New Zealand reported that conservators found the two blocks of New Zealand butter in bags in stables attached to the expedition Hut at Cape Evans in Antarctica.

The extreme cold of the polar region has preserved the hut and expedition equipment inside, but recent signs of deterioration had prompted the Antarctic Heritage Trust to launch a preservation project.

The trust's Lizzie Meek said the butter was a "treasure find".

"It's quite amazing how strong the smell is after nearly 100 years," Meek said at the hut. "I'm not sure I'd want it on my toast."

Scott used the Cape Evans hut as a base for his expedition to the South Pole, which he and four others reached on 17 January, 1912. But they found that Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten them by five weeks to reach the South Pole for the first time.

Scott and his four companions all died on the return journey to Cape Evans.

The latest find follows news last month of the discovery of two crates of Scotch whisky under a hut used by another British explorer, Ernest Shackleton, during his 1907-09 expedition to Antarctica.

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