The first four members of the Trust’s 2023/24 On-Ice Conservation team deployed to Ross Island, Antarctica in early November.
Led by Trust Building Conservation Programme Manager Zack Bennett, Conservator Conor Tulloch, StaplesVR videographer Charles Hill and contractor Brendan Wade spent time at Scott’s Terra Nova hut and Shackleton’s Nimrod hut, collecting digital imagery and point cloud data of the sites to enable the construction of three-dimensional models of the huts that will be invaluable to future conservation work and site interpretation. This work is supported through Antarctica New Zealand’s Community Engagement Programme. Thank you to StaplesVR for supplying technical equipment for the digital asset capture.
LiDAR (Light detecting and ranging) scanning, which is used to create geospatial data, was conducted both inside and outside each hut. The Trust will use this data to understand the relationships between buildings, artefacts and their surroundings. LiDAR is also used in archaeology for understanding historic landscapes and revealing hidden features. The Trust is working with archaeologist Ben Jones and Trust consultant Gord Macdonald to collect, interpret and process data as part of change monitoring and management, with a focus on the way ice, snow and water move around the sites.
The Trust is excited to gather data from these iconic sites to continue creating immersive digital experiences of the historic huts, which will enable people around the world to ‘virtually’ visit them and to understand more about the significance of these cultural heritage sites.
In early December Zack and Conor were joined by Lead Conservator Nicola Stewart and Conservator Gretel Evans to undertake essential monitoring, maintenance and conservation tasks at each of the Ross Island explorer bases and associated sites.
A key focus for our conservators is to complete conservation treatments on artefacts identified last season as requiring treatment, and to re-paint the window frames on Hillary’s TAE/IGY hut with thanks for support from Dulux NZ.
At Scott’s Terra Nova hut, information will be gathered to support the archaeological assessment of the site, while at Shackleton’s Nimrod hut, work is ongoing to combat moisture ingress and improve storage conditions for the artefacts inside. Similarly, at Scott’s Discovery hut, the team will work to reduce snow ingress in and around the eaves on the South wall.
This season the Trust will continue to work collaboratively with partner organisation UK Antarctic Heritage Trust at their sites on the Antarctic Peninsula.
Trust Conservation Advisor Al Fastier will assist with the repair of roof beams damaged by excessive snow loading at Port Lockroy and Trust Collections Conservation Manager Lizzie Meek will be helping to catalogue the artefact collection on Detaille Island, a crucial step in UKAHT’s Conservation Management Plan.