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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Documenting scientific expeditions and cultural heritage on Svalbard

Awarded: NOK 75,598

This project will document the scientific itinerary of huts, field camps and cultural environments (protected, unprotected and partially protected cultural heritage) on Brøggerhalvoya. Although considerable efforts have been made to protect certain sites dating from the contemporary period, no former work has centred on the intertwining of huts and scientific expeditions over the second half of the XXth century in Svalbard. This project will therefore fill the existing gaps in our understanding of past expeditions, by prioritising the understudied French expeditions. Considering the fact that not many members of the 1960s expeditions are still alive, the fragmented nature of scientific archives, as well as the vulnerability of huts to climate change and erosion, there is an urgent need for documenting the contemporary past of huts and field camps with a strong focus on this decade, drawing on alive historical actors’ memory, evidence from the field and other historical sources. The huts which have been used by French expeditions since 1950 have been identified, and fieldwork is now needed to document thoroughly the French field trips which took place in the Kongsfjord region early 1960s, especially when making the geomorphological map of the Brøgger peninsula (1966). Fieldwork and systematized consultation of historical documents in Ny-Ålesund will lead to valuable knowledge about the conditions of production of this map and will also result in the documentation of 11 huts (e.g., profiles, sketches, measurements). Various datasets and reports will be made accessible to local organizations (e.g. Kings Bay A.S.) and to the Svalbard Museum. These organizations will strongly benefit from this project so as to improve the maintenance/management of these huts, based on material characteristics and relevance for the history of Brøggerhalvoya, and promote cultural heritage among the local community. Results will be presented inside and outside scientific circles.

Funding scheme:

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum