In 1871, a Norwegian seal hunter discovered a wooden hut on Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean. In it he found clothing, cooking pots, a tool chest, a clock, a flute, a cooking tripod, and several pictures. It was the lodge of Willem Barentsz, who had passed the winter there in 1597 while seeking a northern route to China. Barentsz had died on the return journey, and the hut had stood for 270 years, awaiting rediscovery.
After losing both of her parents in 1892, Mary Kingsley decided to use her inheritance to travel to Sierre Leone and collect research for her father's unfinished book on the cultures of Africa. She wrote two books about her observances there: Travels in West Africa (1897) and West African Studies (1899).