WHAT would be the last thing you would expect to find when exploring the historic old huts dotted across Antarctica?
If you guessed a 118-year-old watercolour painting - you would be 100 percent correct.
The "almost perfectly preserved" artwork, painted by English physician and explorer Dr Edward Wilson, was discovered amongst dust and penguin droppings in a hut at Cape Adare by New Zealand's Antarctic Heritage Trust.
"I opened it and there was this gorgeous painting… I got such a fright that I jumped and shut the portfolio again," Trust Paper Conservator Josefin Bergmark-Jimenez said.
"I then took the painting out and couldn't stop looking at it - the colours, the vibrancy, it is such a beautiful piece of work. I couldn't believe it was there."
The painting depicts a specimen of a small bird, identified as tree creeper, a species that is widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere, sub-Saharan Africa and Australasia.
It is believed that Dr Wilson, who died with Robert Falcon Scott on the infamous race to the South Pole, painted the picture while recovering from tuberculosis in Europe.
But why it became a part of Wilson's belongings on that ill-fated trip remains a mystery.
The find wasn't announced until June 13 to allow the team to restore the 1500 other artefacts collected from the hut.
All works will be eventually returned to Cape Adare "in accordance with the site's status as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area".