The food depot was left by the researchers of one of the first Arctic expeditions. The expedition of the Russian Geographical Society and the Northern Fleet found on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago a 150-year-old grocery store, in which there were nine barrels for bread, seven boxes of sausage. According to the press office of the Russian Geographical Society, the boxes and barrels are in an unsatisfactory condition – they were kept in a crevice between two rocks, covered with stones.
The researchers delivered some of the artefacts on board the MB-12 sea tug, where they are examined in detail. The scientists of the Russian Arctic National Park participate study the find – they are also part of the expeditionary team.
The version that there is a food depot on one of the Barents islands, located near the northern tip of Novaya Zemlya, was put forward by the scientific leader of the Arctic complex expedition, colonel Sergey Churkin. The hypothesis came about after he found in the Austrian National Library and analyzed the old maps and photographs of the food depot of one of the first Arctic research expeditions of 1872-1874, led by Karl Weiprecht and Julius Payer.
“As Payer described in his diaries, a third of the expedition’s entire budget was spent on the food depot. They put sausage and bread in barrels and boxes – a large number of portions, but they did not use this depot”, Sergey Churkin explained.
The main goal of the Weiprecht and Payer’s expedition in the 1870s was to find the northeastern passage between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, which we now call the Northern Sea Route. A month or two after the departure, the expedition ship Admiral Tegetgoff froze into the ice beyond Novaya Zemlya and began drifting northward. Then the archipelago was discovered, the travelers called it Franz Josef Land – in honor of the Austrian emperor.
In addition to the grocery store, the researchers discovered on Novaya Zemlya a memorial plaque about the expedition of Willem Barents, installed by the Dutch expedition De Bruyne in 1879. This historical exhibit has been preserved in good condition.
Earlier, the scientists of the Russian Geographical Society and the Northern Fleet joint expedition completed their studies of the underwater object in the Yenisey gulf. They assumed that the legendary icebreaker Vaigach was found, which had sunk in 1918. But a detailed examination did not confirm the resemblance to the icebreaker. The materials will be carefully studied by historians and other specialists.
Text: Angelica Stepanova, Photo: rgo.ru